Solon calls for swift passage of faster internet service law

MUNTINLUPA REPRESENTATIVE Rufino B. Biazon on Wednesday called on the House to fast-track the passage of a bill requiring internet service providers to deliver a minimum internet connection speed of 10 megabytes per second (Mbps). “The internet has become very essential in our daily living that even the United Nations General Assembly recognized access to the internet as a basic human right. With all its amazing functions, however, high-speed access to the internet is necessary to prove its true value and maximize full potential as a tool in development. In this aspect, speed is the name of the game,” he said in a statement. Mr. Biazon, author of House Bill No. 28 or the Faster Internet Services Act, made the call after reports of two brothers in Bohol who died from electrocution while installing an internet signal booster for online classes. The brothers died when the metal antenna pole they were installing accidentally fell and hit an electric post near their house. “It is unfortunate that it has come to this: slow internet speeds have become deadly,” Mr. Biazon said. The proposed law mandates the National Telecommunications Commission to require all service providers and Public Telecommunications Entities to provide a minimum download speed of 10 Mbps for all broadband internet access be it mobile, fixed, or fixed wireless. It also sets a fine of P5 million for failure to meet the minimum standards. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

Bill seeks to reform teachers’ education

class students teachers

A BILL reforming the educational program for teachers has been filed in the Senate in light of the “dismal” result of licensure exams since 2014. Senate Bill No. 1887, the Teacher Education Council Act, will amend Republic Act No. 7784 by improving coordination between the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education in developing a coherent pre-service and in-service education of teachers. RA 7784, passed in 1994, contains measures to strengthen teacher education. “Kailangan siguruhin natin na ang kaalaman, pagsasanay, at kahandaan ng mga guro ay naaangkop sa pangangailangan ng mga mag-aaral (We need to ensure that the knowledge, training, and preparedness of teachers are apt to fulfill the needs of the students),” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, chair of the basic education committee, said in a statement on Wednesday. Mr. Gatchalian cited the results of the Licensure Examination for Teachers from 2014 to 2019, which showed average passing rates of 28% for the elementary level and 36% in secondary. — Charmaine A. Tadalan   

House minority to remain as ‘balancing group’ despite majority-handpicked leader

AN INDEPENDENT member in the House of Representatives said the minority bloc will maintain its role as “fiscalizer” despite having a new leader who was handpicked by the majority. “The minority will remain as a fiscalizer and balancing group in the House especially on legislation work,” Bicol Rep. Edcel C. Lagman said on Wednesday even as he noted that there is a “small aggrupation” of majority allies masquerading as members of the minority. “The handpicking by the majority leadership of the ‘minority leader’ was formalized in the 17th Congress  and is perpetuated in the 18th Congress,” he said. The House minority bloc on late Monday elected Abang Lingkod Party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen S. Paduano as its new leader, replacing Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante, Jr. who filed his resignation during Friday’s plenary session to join the majority. Mr. Lagman said Mr. Paduano is part of the ‘anointed’ members of the minority, citing his presence during a meeting held earlier in Malacañang to settle the speakership row. Mr. Paduano, for his part, said in an online press conference that the minority bloc would remain steadfast in opposing legislative bills that would harm ordinary Filipinos and would not become a “co-opted minority” under the new House Speaker. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza