Kaka-Internet Mo ‘Yan: Priority Policy Reforms for a Better Internet
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), in partnership with Better Internet PH (BIP), hosted the webinar, “Kaka-Internet Mo ‘Yan: Priority Policy Reforms for a Better Internet,” last June 28 to propose an Internet legislative agenda for the incoming Marcos administration and 19th Congress.
George Barcelon, PCCI President, stressed that the PCCI “has been a staunch advocate of digitalization and innovation.” One of PCCI’s recent policy successes was the signing of Executive Order 127 by outgoing President Duterte in March 2021 on inclusive access to satellite services. As the 19th Congress commences, Barcelon reiterated the PCCI’s support for legislative reforms, which “can finally address the legal obstacles and outdated internet laws that stifle the country’s ability to keep pace with its neighbors in ASEAN in the area of ICT.”
Sam Chittick, The Asia Foundation Country Representative, who opened the event, affirmed that “stable and affordable Internet is the backbone of a modern digital economy.”
Priority reforms for digital connectivity and cybersecurity were presented by Grace Mirandilla-Santos, BIP Lead Advocate, and Dr. William Yu, Secure Connections Network Security Expert.
Santos pointed out the legal obstacles contained in outdated laws, which include the Radio Control Act of 1931 and the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of 1995, which were designed for analog radio broadcast and basic voice services. To achieve better Internet, she said laws need to be updated or new laws should be passed to bring the country to the digital age. Santos called on stakeholders to rally behind the following bills: Open Access in Data Transmission Act, Rural Wired Connectivity Development Act, Better Internet Act, Satellite-based Technologies Promotion Act, and the Spectrum Management Act.
Yu highlighted the key cybersecurity challenges in the private sector, including the cyber threats and risks to e-Commerce, SMEs, and banking and finance, given the increase in internet transactions and digital payments. He called on the stakeholders to endorse an executive order on minimum information security infrastructure (MISS) and send letters of support for the passage of a bill on the protection of critical information infrastructure.
Federation of the International Cable TV and Telecommunications Association of the Philippines (FICTAP) President and Chairman Estrellita Tamano and former PCCI Central Visayas Regional Governor Edward Du gave their general support for the reforms and suggested improvements to the proposed policies, in light of the challenges faced by their constituents in the cable industry and business sector.
Incoming DICT Secretary Atty. Ivan Uy said he hopes the country “can update many of the really old laws… on telecommunications and make them more relevant in this day and age, with internet connectivity at the forefront of our digitalization efforts.”
Perry Ferrer, PCCI’s Vice President for Industry Affairs, ended the forum and highlighted the need to solve the digital divide. “Let us take the bull by the horn, get our acts together and rally for our leaders and policymakers to recognize the urgency of addressing the digital divide and enable our fellow Filipinos in the rural, unserved, and underserved areas to catch up as we transition to the digital.”
Presentations and speeches can be accessed here.