President not likely to issue executive order on liberalizing satellite access – Roque

Published September 10, 2020, 8:57 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte may not issue an executive order on liberalizing satellite access to enhance the country’s Internet connectivity since he might step on the powers of Congress, Malacañang said Thursday, September 10.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque

According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, the proposal of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) on the matter must undergo a thorough study.

The business chamber earlier urged the President to sign an order allowing Internet providers to use satellite technology to improve the country’s connectivity.

“Sa tingin ko po parang malabo pong magawa ng Presidente iyan (I think it is unlikely the President can do that) through an Executive Order because he will be possibly infringing on the powers of Congress but we need to study the matter in more details,” Roque said during a televised press briefing.

“Kinakailangan po nang mas malawakang pag-aaral diyan dahil alam naman natin ang paggamit ng ere ay subject to the grant of a franchise issued by Congress (It must undergo a comprehensive study because the use of airwaves is subject to the grant of a franchise issued by Congress),” he said.

PCCI President Amb. Benedicto Yujuico said the issuance of an executive order would allow “Internet service providers, including those without congressional franchise, to build their own network using satellite technology for Internet connectivity.” He said technology would continue to play a crucial role in responding to the challenge of survival, recovery, resilience and sustainability.

The President earlier declared that the government will push ahead with its digital transformation, allocating funds for related projects next year.

In the 2021 national budget proposal, the President said P21.4 billion will be used for the Medium-Term Information and Communications Technology Harmonization Initiative to ensure interoperability of the government’s ICT resources and programs.

Around P7.6 billion will also fund the ICT requirements for telecommunications infrastructure “to aid in the shift to e-governance post-pandemic.” The programs include free Internet Wi-fi access connectivity in public places project, the national government data center, the national broadband plan, and the national government portal.

“Leveraging ICT will help us improve coordination been essential stakeholders, make sound and data-based policy decisions in responding to the threats of COVID-19, deliver critical services to our citizens compliant to health and safety protocols, and keep the economy running,” Duterte said in his budget message to Congress.