House approves bill extending INC’s private telecom franchise for 25 years

The House of Representatives unanimously approved on third and final reading House Bill 7753, which seeks to extend for another 25 years the franchise granted to the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC), under Republic No. 4339, as amended by RA 7225, to operate a private telecommunication service.

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The bill principally authored by San Jose Del Monte City Rep Florida Robes got the nod of all 224 House members who were present during the voting. The bill has been transmitted to the Senate for action.

Robes said the maintenance of private telecommunications networks is an acceptable practice among large organizations for their efficient interconnection over extended geographical areas. The need for privacy and exclusivity for transmission and exchange of information is served by this, she said.

Robes said the INC, being an ever-expanding religious organization that disseminates uniform bi-weekly preaching in all its regular religious congregations nationwide, and even worldwide, needs to use and maintain a private telecommunications network to serve its proselytization.

“Immediate accessibility to pastoral guidance and counselling on a regular basis is a must for such an organization conscious about direct implementation of religious instructions to its locale officers and members,” said Robes.

The bill seeks to extend for another 25 years the franchise granted to the INC. This shall amend RA 443, as amended by RA 7225 which extended the INC’s franchise to construct, install, establish and operate radio stations for private telecommunications to another 25 years from February 10, 1994. — Rowena B. Bundang

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