Senate urged to take action on open access bill

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines (JFC) is urging the Senate to take action on the proposed Open Access in Data Transmission Act upon the resumption of session next week.

In a statement issued yesterday, the JFC called the Senate to commence deliberation on the said bill, emphasizing that the House of Representatives approved House Bill 6 or the Open Access in Data Transmission Act on third reading before going into the December recess.

“The bill was transmitted to the Senate for deliberation,” JFC said.

It cited that other Senate Bills filed on Open Access are also pending with the Senate Science and Technology Committee chaired by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano.

The JFC pointed out that this is the third time that the House has approved the bill on third reading after approvals in both the 17th and 18th Congresses.

The bill, however, failed to get Senate approval in both Congresses.

“The members of the JFC expressed optimism that since the bill was approved early in the 19th Congress, the Senate will have enough time to deliberate and approve the measure, especially considering no less than the Senate President filed a counterpart to the Open Access bill filed by House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez Jr.,” JFC said.

In a position paper sent to the chairperson of the Senate Science and Technology Committee, the JFC explained that the Open Access bill seeks to address the need for fast, reliable and affordable internet or data service.

“With the enactment of the bill, the market is unlocked and a competitive environment is developed that would benefit the public at large. It lowers regulatory barriers and costs of entry for market players offering internet service, and promotes fair and open competition at different segments of the data transmission network,” JFC said.

The JFC said this would significantly improve data transmission services, particularly faster internet speed and lower internet costs, throughout the country.

It emphasized that the proposed Open Access in Data Transmission Act is critical to establishing a forward-looking and future-ready digital policy framework for the Philippines.

The bill aims to create the space that will allow and empower as many different service providers as possible to build and operate data networks and give more choices to broadband users anywhere in the country, especially in the countryside.

The JFC is a coalition of the American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese, Korean chambers and the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc.

The foreign chambers support and promote open international trade, increased foreign investment, and improved conditions for business to benefit both the Philippines and the countries the JFC members represent.

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