Sen. Grace Poe urged the government today to launch initiatives that would stem brain drain in the telecommunications industry as it is depriving Filipinos quality and efficient telecommunications (telco) services.
Poe, chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Public Services, said the Philippines now seem to be lacking technical manpower as more local Information Technology (IT) experts have chosen to leave the Philippines for more stable jobs abroad.
As such, local telco services providers could not seem to provide a steady fix for the Internet and signal problems of their subscribers.
“Kulang yata sa magagaling na technical na tao kaso pabalik-balik din ang problema. ‘Yun din ang problema dito sa ating brain drain na tinatawag (I think we lack technical experts that is why signal problems are recurring. We are also experiencing problems on brain drain in this industry),” Poe said.
While the government recognizes the contributions of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who thrive in their chosen careers abroad, the senator lamented the country gets deprived of talented people.
“Masaya tayo na ang ating mga OFWs ay kinikilala sa ibang bansa dahil sa kanilang kapabilidad at talent, pero nawawala rin ang magagaling dito sa atin (We are happy when our OFWs are recognized abroad because of their capabilities and their talent. But we lose the best in the end),” she said.
“Nagkukulang din tayo ng tao, kahit na ang mga magagaling dito na technical persons natin sobra rin silang nahihirapan sa dami ng nangangailangan sa kanila (Our people here are also lacking manpower, even though we have good technical persons, they are also having a hard time because so many people need them),” the lawmaker noted.
Poe said local businesses should open up quality opportunities to Filipinos, so they would not be forced to work abroad.
“Importante sana na magdagdag ng sapat na trabaho dito sa atin. Magbukas pa sana ng puwesto kasi kulang sila ng technical na tao (It’s important that we open up more job opportunities here. I hope we can open positions for technical experts here),” she said.
“Kapag nagkakaroon ng bagyo, kapag nagkakaroon ng kung anumang aberya, hindi rin nila maasikaso agad (Whenever there are typhoons or any calamity, they cannot respond immediately because they are having a hard time as well),” she added.
As the government has put in place mechanisms to encourage telcos to construct more towers and the needed infrastructure all over the country, Poe said it is necessary to ensure that the daily operations are manned by competent and knowledgeable people to address the needs of the public for reliable, accessible, and affordable connection.
Poe said she will ask telcos to report on their compliance to the government’s directive to accelerate the building of cell towers, especially in far-flung areas, tomorrow.
Under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2, the government has waived several permit requirements to allow telcos to expedite the construction of cell towers and improve communication signals in the country.
“Tatanungin natin ilan na ba nagawa ninyo itong taon na ito? Sapat na ba ito kasi sa ngayon, parang nagkukulang pa tayo ng 50,000 cell towers para maging maayos. Ilan na ba ang kanilang nagawa? (We will ask them an update on how many cell sites they have constructed for this year? Is this enough, because we still lack 50,000 cell towers to fix the problem),” she said.
“Gusto natin magtagmpay ang kahit anong telco company na makapagbigay ng serbisyo kasi kung magtagumpay silang lahat tayo ay mabibiyayaan ng kaginhawaan sa ating trabaho at sa ating pag-aaral (We want all telco companies to be able to provide better services because if they can do so, all of us will benefit in our livelihood, in our studies).”
“Pero pag hindi naman nila nagawa ‘yun, hindi rin naman natin ginagawa ang ating responsibilidad at tungkulin kung ibibigay natin ang prangkisa sa kanila (But if they fail to do so, then we are not doing our responsibility if we choose to give them a franchise),” Poe stressed.
She also said they expect all the major telco players in the country, including Dito Telecommunity, the third telco company, to update the Senate panel on their earlier commitment to deliver faster Internet speed services of 27 mbps and to provide services to certain unserved and underserved areas in the country in the hearing.