Senator seeks addt’l powers for NTC to control telcos

MANILA — To better regulate players in the telecommunications industry, Sen. Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian on Wednesday proposed the need to grant the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) with additional powers.

Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Economic Affairs, sought for NTC’s additional authority to allow them to discipline erring or incompetent telecommunication companies.

To recall, Gatchalian filed Senate Resolution No. 213, which called on the Senate to look into the economic effects on consumers and the national economy of the present model of operation and regulation of the telco industry.

He said this provision will be included in his committee report.

“The NTC needs more teeth to better regulate the telecoms industry. I will make sure that it gets the same powers like the ERC (Energy Regulatory Commission),” Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, said.

NTC previously admitted having difficulty imposing drastic penalties against telcos which fail to deliver satisfactory services to consumers.

NTC Deputy Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios said they failed to compel industry giants Globe and Smart to deliver the minimum speed of 12 mbps in Internet connectivity as promised in their advertisements.

Cabarios said that since the NTC and the two telcos differ on the issue of whether or not data connection speed limits can be imposed, the NTC has opted to be silent on the issue “because of the limitations in the law.”

He added that the PHP200 penalty per day for non-compliance to NTC regulations is likewise not a deterrent to the telcos.