Senate to look into adding faster internet in emergency powers for solving traffic woes

Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II (left) asks questions to convicted drug lord Herbert Colangco (right), one of the high profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) testifying during the congressional inquiry on illegal drugs on Tuesday (September 20, 2016) at the House of the Representatives in Quezon City. The House committe gave the DOJ Secretary the permission to cross-examine witnesses on the alleged illegal drugs operation inside the detention center. Also in photo is Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali (middle), chairman of the House justice committee.  (MNS photo)

Department of Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II (left) asks questions to convicted drug lord Herbert Colangco (right), one of the high profile inmates at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) testifying during the congressional inquiry on illegal drugs on Tuesday (September 20, 2016) at the House of the Representatives in Quezon City. The House committe gave the DOJ Secretary the permission to cross-examine witnesses on the alleged illegal drugs operation inside the detention center. Also in photo is Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali (middle), chairman of the House justice committee. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) — Provisions to ensure faster internet connection in the country may be included in the bill being crafted to grant emergency powers to solve long-standing traffic woes.

This was discussed on Thursday at a Senate committee hearing on emergency powers to solve traffic woes.

Including such a provision is in line with proposals to include telecommuting and teleclasses, or working and attending classes via the internet, among measures to help ease traffic.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is asking Senate to help make securing permits to establish cell sites faster.

The Philippines will need at least 67,000 cell sites for better mobile and internet signal, DITC Usec. Eliseo Rio Jr. said in his presentation.

There are currently less than 20,000 cell sites in the country, he added.

Rio said the problem lies mostly in securing the 25 permits currently needed to establish a cell site.

“Mahina po ‘yung internet speed basically because of so much red tape. We need emergency powers for the President to oversee the red tape on permits being granted by local government units for putting up cell sites,” Rio said.

He added: “The reason we cannot move as fast as the other countries is one permit may even take one year, if you have so much red tape.”

Sen. Panfilo Lacson shared a conversation he had with an official from telecommunications company, which echoes the said sentiment.

“[Ang sabi], walang katakot-takot na lagayan. Even ‘yung barangay tanod kailangan pang may Johnny Walker. From the mayor to the council, lahat ng daraanan, talagang nanghihingi raw ng lagay,” Lacson said.

“How would emergency powers remedy that situation? Kahit bawasan mo ‘yung signatures, kung ‘yung sampung pipirma naniningil ng lagay, talagang aatras ‘yung service provider,” he added.

For her part, Sen. Grace Poe said they will look into including provisions to oblige local government units to immediately respond or approve permits for cell sites.(MNS)

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