Order out on oversight body on 3rd telco player

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PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has issued Administrative Order (AO) No. 11 creating an oversight committee on the entry of a third player in the telecommunications industry, Malacañang announced on Wednesday, April 11.

The AO says its purpose is to “ensure reliable, inexpensive and secure telecommunications services in the country,” noting further that the Philippines, based on the Global Information Technology Report 2016 of the World Economic Forum, has one of the most expensive telecommunications services in Southeast Asia.

The order also notes that the entry of a new player “is a matter of paramount national interest which shall redound to the benefit of the public by ensuring genuine competition in the country’s telecommunications industry.”

The committee, according to the AO, will be composed of representatives of the following agencies: Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) as chairperson; Department of Finance (DoF) as vice-chairperson; Office of the Executive Secretary; and National Security Adviser.

It adds: “The DICT shall provide the necessary secretariat support to the oversight committee.”

Among the committee’s powers and functions are the following: assist the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in formulating the Terms of Reference (ToR) for the selection and assignment of radio frequencies, pursuant to DICT’s Memorandum Circular No. 001-08; oversee compliance of the NTC and other implementing agencies with the provisions of the said ToR; and ensure timely implementation pursuant to the timeline established by the DICT and NTC.

The order, signed by Mr. Duterte and Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea on April 6, “shall take effect immediately.” — Arjay L. Balinbin