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[MEDIA RELEASE] Foreign Chambers urge Senate action on Open Access Bill

The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) called on the Senate to commence deliberation on the Open Access in Data Transmission Act upon resumption of session next week.

The House of Representatives approved House Bill 6 or the Open Access in Data Transmission Act on third reading before going into the December recess. The bill was transmitted to the Senate for deliberation. Other Senate Bills filed on Open Access are also pending with the Senate Science and Technology Committee chaired by Senator Allan Peter Cayetano.

This is the third time that the House has approved the bill on third reading after approvals in both the 17th and 18thCongresses. The bill failed to get Senate approval in both Congresses. The members of the JFC expressed optimism that since the bill was approved early in the 19thCongress, the Senate will have enough time to deliberate and approve the measure, especially considering no less than the Senate President filed a counterpart to the Open Access bill filed by House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Jr.

In a position paper sent to the Chairperson of the Senate Science and Technology Committee, the JFC explained that the Open Access bill seeks to address the need for fast, reliable and affordable internet or data service. With the enactment of the bill, the market is unlocked and a competitive environment is developed that would benefit the public at large. It lowers regulatory barriers and costs of entry for market players offering internet service, and promotes fair and open competition at different segments of the data transmission network. This will significantly improve data transmission services (faster internet speed and lower internet costs) throughout the country.

According to the JFC, the proposed Open Access in Data Transmission Act is critical to establishing a forward-looking and future-ready digital policy framework for the Philippines. The bill aims to create the space that will allow and empower as many different service providers as possible to build and operate data networks and give more choices to broadband users anywhere in the country, especially in the countryside.

The JFC is a coalition of the American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese, Korean chambers and the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Incorporated. It supports and promotes open international trade, increased foreign investment, and improved conditions for business to benefit both the Philippines and the countries the JFC members represent.

Members of the Joint Foreign Chambers are:

American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines
Australian-New Zealand Commerce of the Philippines
Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines
European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines
Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of the Philippines
Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines
Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters, Inc.