Duterte expands telecom company franchise

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte approved the renewal and granting of statutory franchises to three telecommunications companies in various regions of the country.

The CEO signed Republic Acts (RA) 11758 and RA 11757, granting a 25-year franchise extension to Sultan Kudarat Telephone System Inc. and Independent Telephone Company Inc., respectively.

It also enacted RA 11759 which allows Derecho Telecommunications to establish and maintain its telecommunications systems and services.

All were signed on April 29, 2022 but copies were not released until Thursday, May 19.

The new laws require recipients to obtain from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) a certificate of public convenience and necessity or the appropriate permits and licenses for the construction, installation and operation of its telecommunications systems or facilities.

They must also seek approval from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) or relevant local government unit if they erect, install or maintain poles or other supports for cables or other conductors, and excavate or lay conduits in any of the public areas. places in the province, cities or municipalities.

These laws also require beneficiaries to:

– Comply with honest business ethics and not use its stations or facilities for obscene or indecent transmission, or for the dissemination of deliberately false information, or willful misrepresentation, or to assist in acts subversive or treasonous;

– To operate and maintain all its stations, lines, cables, systems and equipment for the transmission and reception of messages, signals and pulses satisfactorily at all times and, where possible and economical, modify, improve or change such stations , lines, cables, systems and equipment to keep abreast of advances in science and technology;

– Improve and extend its services in areas not yet served and in areas prone to hazards and typhoons which will be determined by the National Council for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, or its legal successor, in coordination with the CNT; and

– Improve and upgrade its equipment and services, in order to ensure effective compliance with the objectives of the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts law.

All of the new laws also give the President the power to temporarily take over and operate recipients’ stations, transmitters, facilities, or equipment in time of war, rebellion, public peril, calamity, emergency, disaster or disruption of peace and order.

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