Foreign chambers call for swift passage of Konektadong Pinoy bill

THE Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines (JFC) on Thursday called for the passage of the Konektadong Pinoy bill to help bridge the digital divide and strengthen the Philippines’ internet infrastructure.

The JFC, citing a World Bank study, said that only 33% of Filipino households have access to fixed internet due to high costs and a lack of internet infrastructure.

It added that the Philippines also lags its middle-income peers in the region in terms of internet access, speed, and affordability.

“We call for swift passage of the Open Access in Data Transmission bill to bridge these critical gaps in internet infrastructure and help ensure that families have the internet they need for work, school, and more,” the chambers said.

If passed, the JFC said that the bill will allow the acceleration of digital transformation in the Philippines.

“Passage of this bill will reduce costs and expand access to high-quality internet services by lowering barriers to entry in the data transmission sector and encouraging more competition and investment in data transmission, especially in underserved areas throughout the Philippines,” it added.

On March 15, the National Economic and Development Authority also pushed for the passage of the bill, as it will allow access to reliable internet services, which the agency views as a prerequisite to advancing inclusive socioeconomic growth.

The House of Representatives-approved bill, although part of the Common Legislative Agenda of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Committee (LEDAC), is still being discussed in the Senate.

“It was recently identified by Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri as among the LEDAC priority measures currently pending at the committee level that the Senate is on track to approve before Congress adjourns sine die,” the JFC said.

The JFC consists of the American, Australia-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese, and Korean chambers and the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters, Inc.

The group represents over 3,000 members and over $30 billion worth of investments in the Philippines. — Justine Irish D. Tabile