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Duterte unlikely to issue EO to fast track internet coverage — Palace

Duterte unlikely to issue EO to fast track internet coverage — Palace

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is not likely to issue an executive order (EO) allowing internet service providers to set up networks using satellite technology to boost connectivity as it may intrude into Congress' power to grant franchises, Malacañang said Thursday.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged Duterte to sign an EO on satellite access liberalization, saying an improved internet coverage is needed in undertakings like health services and distance learning. The EO can be implemented while bills seeking to improve internet services and access to digital technology are pending in Congress, the business group added.

"That (proposal) requires a more extensive study because the use of airwaves is subject to the grant of a franchise issued by Congress," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing.

"So, sa tingin ko po parang malabo pong magawa ng presidente iyan (I think it is unlikely that the president will do that) through an executive order because he will be possibly infringing on the powers of Congress but we need to study the matter in more details," he added.

Earlier, the government panel formed to propose policies that would allow the Philippines to adapt to the "new normal" called for more investments in information and communication technology, saying the pandemic would increase the use of online transactions.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases Technical Working Group for Anticipatory and Forward Planning also claimed that having access to Wi-Fi is no longer a luxury and has become a necessity. Government entities, the body added, should shift to electronic and paperless systems, zero-contact policies, online transactions, and new channels for service delivery.