Parliamentary House Bill designed to give NTC more teeth

10 Oct 2019

Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero has proposed House Bill 4886 which is designed to give Philippines industry watchdog the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) more ‘enforcement teeth’ by updating the 24-year-old Republic Act 7925 (the Public Telecommunications Policy Act) where it comes to dealing with penalties and sanctions. Business Mirror notes that the proposed House Bill seeks ‘to improve compliance among public telecommunication entities and expand the NTC’s control and capability as a regulator’.

In a brief, Romero confirmed: ‘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.’ Per the official, the new measures give the NTC the power to levy a fine of at least PHP1 million for every day a telco continues to breach requisite terms and conditions. Further, the amendment would allow the watchdog to order telcos to refund customers. ‘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,’ he pointed out, before adding that a review of the government’s spectrum policy is also in order: ‘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 said.

Philippines, National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)