Senatorial candidate Herbert “Bistek” Bautista on Friday proposed the merger of resources by Filipino and foreign investors to bring reliable internet services to millions of Filipinos who are out of the service areas of the top three ICT companies across the country.
“Let’s let more players in at least in the island level, for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao,” Bautista said.
“We need to deregulate the ICT industry further,” said Bautista, who is running for senator on a platform of Internet reform, Livelihood for all and Youth development, or ILY.
He said while there are already three telco players in the country following the entry of Dito, millions of Filipinos still have no access to the internet.
He said investors can take advantage of amendments to the Public Service Act and the enactment of the Retail Trade Liberalization Act which opened up the telecommunications industry to fully foreign-owned companies.
“For example, in Mindanao, Filipino businessmen can pool their resources to invest or partner with foreigners,” said Bautista, who is running under the ticket of presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Bautista acknowledged that it would be a little difficult to connect the entire Visayas through fiber optic internet.
“It would really be expensive to set up fiber optics there,” he said. “But in landlocked areas, like Mindanao and Luzon, it’s really doable,” he added.
Improved internet access, Bautista said, would be crucial for students attending classes online and for businessmen and entrepreneurs needing access to online payment platforms.