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PIA Press Release

Government loses P108 M annually to illegal cable television subscribers

Tacloban City (February 19) -- Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri committed to support the passage of "The Anti Cable Television Filperage Act of 2008" to put an end to the activities of about 1.5 million illegal cable subscribers.

"I am in full support of the measure. In fact I already told my staff to look into it, and see whether we could come up with something similar to the measure in support of the anti-cable pilferage bill," Zubiri said during the Committee on Public Information and Mass Media hearing of the Senate.

Senator Zubiri stressed the need to expedite the passage of the cable pilferage act following report of cable operators that the government is losing at least P108 million a year in tax payments, while the cable industry loses around P5.4 billion annually in gross receipts in addition to losses due to damaged equipment and facilities.

Mr. Allan P. Dungao, president of the Cable Television Association of the Philippines, in a statement before the committee said around 1.5 million illegal cable pilferers wreak damage to the cable system, thus disrupting the reception of the equally numbered legal cable subscribers.

Mr. Dungao explained before the committee's Technical Working Group (TWG) that cable signal theft is a very serious threat to the cable business, as well as, a nuisance to the cable industry's legal subscribers.

"When illegal subscribers cause signal disruptions on the line, subscribers usually blame the cable provider when they receive bad cable signal, not knowing that cable thieves have illegally connected to their line," Mr. Dungao said.

Senator Zubiri expressed concern to the enumeration made by Estrellita Juliano Tamano, national chairperson of the Federation of International Cable TV Associations of the Philippines (FICAP) that the pending Senate bills are "overboard, do not provide sufficient protection of cable TV operators, and the bills impose undue burdens on cable TV operators."

Ms. Tamano in a statement identified that "although the pending Senate bills would afford cable TV operators a higher level of protection the technical jargon employed in the current texts prevent all cable TV operators from enjoying such an improvement." (PIA 8) [top]

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