House bill to give whole set of ‘enforcement teeth’ to NTC

1-Pacman party-list representative Mikee L. Romero has filed House Bill 4886 to set the parameters of a new public telecommunications policy program and update a 24-year-old law with an entirely new section on penalties and sanctions.

1-Pacman party-list representative Mikee L. Romero

Republic Act 7925 (Public Telecommunications Policy Act), enacted in March 1995 is the prevailing telecom policy.

“My bill amends RA 7925 with a whole set of law enforcement teeth because the 1995 law does not have penalty provisions and no means to hold erring entities and people liable for wrongdoing and not doing when they should have acted decisively,” Romero said in press statement.

House Bill 4886 gives power to the NTC to impose a penalty of at least P1 million for every day of violation against erring telcos. The NTC is also given powers to order refunds to consumers, too.

“The current framework is also inadequate mainly because it is based on a 20th-century orientation being applied to 21st-century situations. Urgent needs are also unaddressed such as much better competition, consumer protection, and industry regulation,” Romero said.

“We have only three major telecom players and dozens of bit players. We have a number of unused spectrum frequencies. The spectrum policy has been described by some experts as ‘a mess’. The country has thousands of telecom dead spots nationwide,” Romero noted.

A published NTC report disclosed that there are government agencies and several private sector entities with assigned but unused and unpaid frequencies in the spectrum.

Romero also said, “the Philippines cannot truly be a middle-income economy without a modern and adapting telecoms sector serving the growing needs of over 109 million Filipinos.”

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