TWG to lay ground for per-second voice call rate regime
Davao City (26 June) -- Liberal President Senator Mar Roxas today said Congress could consider granting the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) more teeth in regulating the booming wireless telephone industry to ensure the protection of public interest.
But to already have some forward movement pending this measure to strengthen the NTC, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade and Commerce has already formed a technical working group (TWG) to lay the ground for the implementation of a per-second voice call rate regime.
"Kung baga sa pulis, ang sinasabi ng NTC ay meron lang silang silbato o pito pero wala silang batuta o baril o iba pang pamamaraan para pigilan ang mga pagmamalabis o pagsasamantala ng mga kumpanyang ito," he said.
"Lumalabas na taga-propose lang itong NTC at ang nagdedesisyon ay 'yung telcos. Dapat talagang siguruhin natin na may sapat na sandata ang NTC para siguruhin ang kapakanan ng 75 milyong Pilipinong gumagamit ng cellphone," he added.
The Visayan senator said among the corrective legislation he would propose is to amend Republic Act No. 7925 or the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of 1995, which he noted has tied the hands of the NTC from imposing strict regulatory guidelines among the country's telecommunication providers.
NTC officials have told the Senate committee a court injunction on a Memorandum Circular containing telecommunication policy regulations had tied their hands from, among others, imposing price and interconnection regulations over the telecommunications industry.
On Wednesday's hearing, Roxas has tasked the NTC to head the TWG formed by the committee to resolve technical and commercial issues to the implementation of per-second voice call rates in place of the present per-minute regime. The country's top mobile telephone providers have already said they are open to the said regime provided sufficient and equitable regulations are put in place.
"Magandang balita na paunti-unti nang umusaad ang ating imbestigasyon. Hindi tayo titigil hanggang masiguro natin na ang interes ng taumbayan ang inuuna ng gobyernong ito," Roxas vowed.
"Papaalalahanan ko lang ang NTC na pandayin na ang patakarang ito at siguruhing tutupad sa pangako nila ang mga Telco. Dahil hindi tamang ang one-plus-one sa palengke equals two pero sa mga telco ay 60 ito," he stressed. (PR/PIA XI) [top]