MANILA, Philippines — Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr. suggested improving the internet service in the Philippines to ease traffic problems during the hearing on the proposed granting of emergency powers to President Rodrigo Duterte.
Rio suggested various information and communications technology (ICT) solutions to improve traffic, one of which is telecommuting and teleclasses wherein employees and students do not have to go to work or school. Under this scheme, employers and schools could identify some activities that could be done at home, removing the need to commute.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson however, raised the issue of slow internet connection in the country.
According to Rio, the Philippines has less than 20,000 cell sites while Vietnam and Laos have 55,000 and 30,000 cell sites respectively, resulting in less dropped calls and faster internet connection.
“We need at least 67,000 cell sites to improve our internet access,” Rio said.
“The reason why we cannot do as fast as other countries is one permit might even take one year,” he added.
According to Lacson, Globe Telecom communicated with him before and revealed that there is a lot of bribery happening when they asked for permits to put up a cell site.
“Even yung barangay tanod, kelangan pa na may Johnny Walker. From the mayor, council, lahat ng dadaanan, talagang nanghihingi raw ng lagay,” Lacson said.
Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, meanwhile, said they would look into the proposal of Rio and see if there is something they could do.
“If we put this particular provision as part of being granted emergency powers to direct local governments to issue it (permits) immediately, this will help,” Poe said.