Amendment of Public Service Act of 1936 supported

LUNA, Apayao – The Cordillera Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC-CAR) and the Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) passed a resolution appealing to the Cordillera congress representatives to strongly support the amendments to the Public Service Act (PSA) of 1936 or Commonwealth Act 146.

The two regional bodies stated the Public Service Act amendment bill seeks to address the changes in the economic framework brought about by globalization and rapid technological innovations by adjusting the provisions of the law.

The PSA amendment bill authored by Reps. Joey Salceda of Albay, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of Pampanga, Arthur Yap of Negros Occidental and Feliciano Belmonte of Quezon city aims to solve the country’s debilitating woes over the telecommunications sector, including the vital industries on transport and power, which contributed to stalled economic growth in the country over the past several decades.

Earlier, the RDC-CAR’s infrastructure development committee in its meeting on July 31, 2017 recommended to the full council to request the Cordillera congressmen to support the proposed House Bill amending the Public Service Act of 1936 or PSA Amendment Bill.

The RDC-CAR noted the issue on poor internet speed was discussed during the April 7, 2017 RDC en banc meeting held in Bontoc, Mountain Province where representatives of the different telecommunication companies identified factors why there are poor signals in the province, particularly problems on the rentals of lands that they are renting, among others.

Moreover, 30 Tabuk City residents wrote Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III on July 11, 2017 requesting the Senate to investigate the inaction of the National |Telecommunications Commission (NTC) officials to protect the rights of the internet subscribers against poor internet speed, which is contrary to the providers’ advertisements and in gross violation of Memorandum Circular No. 07-07-2011 and MC No. 07-08-2015.

The RDC-CAR also took note of another petition signed by 200 Tabuk city internet subscribers requesting the RDC-CAR to seek the commitment of the Cordillera congressmen to fully support the passage of the proposed House Bill to effect the regulations of internet service.

During the July 27, 2017 meeting with the petitioners, NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordova reiterated that the obsolete laws practically tie the hands of the Commission in making the telecommunications companies render satisfactory internet service as the penalty imposed against the erring companies is minimal while the Public Telecommunications Act of 1995 does not include internet service as a basic service but instead classified it as value added service and therefore, outside the NTC’s regulatory powers.

The RDC-CAR stipulated the same issue is one of the major concerns and issues raised by provincial officials of Apayao during the third quarter meeting of the region’s policy-making body in Apayao last September 7, 2017, stating that the very poor internet service in the province is definitely considered as one of the obstruction of growth and development in the countryside.

The Cordillera is one of the regions in the country with poor telecommunications and internet services that deprive residents of access to the outside world.

By Dexter A. See

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