A legislator on Saturday said he was confident that Information and Communication Technology (DICT) Secretary Ivan John Uy would be able to turn around the sorry state of Internet access in the Philippines.
Ako-Bicol Rep. Elizaldy Co, chair of the House appropriations committee, underscored the relevance of the Internet to the people’s daily life, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am sure DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy will do everything in his power to ensure lower cost and faster speed for the country’s growing Internet users,” Co said as his panel deliberated Friday on the DICT’s proposed 2023 budget of P7.32 billion.
Co said “the pandemic has shown us that the Internet has become a vital element in our lives—from food orders and medical consultations to online classes and businesses to entertainment. All aspects of our lives are online.”
This developed as Co asked Uy to explore ways for the telecommunications service providers to help improve the internet access in the country.
“We had envisioned that a third competitor in the telecommunications sector would create a vigorous and real competition (among) the three networks, and our countrymen will finally get lower internet costs and higher service reliability,” Co said.
“It has been more than a year since our country had three telecoms providers and we have yet to see an improvement in the cost of internet and service reliability,” he added.
During the hearing, Uy said the DICT has formulated and is implementing its CHIP (Connect, Harness, Innovate and Protect) conceptual framework. DICT’s roadmap to accelerating the building of the National Digital Infrastructure, CHIP identifies the means and strategies that allows the country to take full advantage of the global digital economy.
“We recognize DICT’s efforts, including the International Cable Landing Systems, the National Fibre Backbone, the National Government Data Centre, and its other programs, to improve our connectivity,” Co said
As of January 2021, an estimated 74 million Filipinos were digitally connected.
“The huge number of Filipinos online should inspire our DICT and Internet service providers (ISPs) to improve the service and Internet speed that our kababayans receive,” Co said.
He noted that at the macro level, Internet connectivity is also vital to the country’s survival and growth.
“In fact our very survival as a globally competitive nation is dependent upon our ability to establish a viable digital network,” he pointed out.