LEGISLATORS said they expected a bill they co-wrote to improve competition in the digital services industry, help propel the economy’s recovery, ultimately reducing poverty.
Bill No. 8910, also known as the Open Access in Data Transmission Act, hopes to promote fair and open competition by lowering barriers to entry for the telecommunications industry, which will lower the cost of these services.
“By reducing the costs of Internet access, (the bill) significantly reduces the transaction costs of researching, transporting, tracking and verifying in the conduct of economic activity,” said the representative of Quezon City, Jesus C. Suntay, to BusinessWorld in an email.
“For developing countries like ours, it is important to have a more inclusive digital economy to prevent the gap from widening between the rich and the poor by increasing the efficiency of the economy”, a- he added.
He cited a study by the Inter-American Development Bank which found that investing in technology can democratize access to technology, improving users’ access to jobs and education.
Parañaque representative Joy S. Tambunting said building a better digital infrastructure would help support the development of e-commerce.
“E-commerce contributed 3.4% of GDP (gross domestic product) in 2020,” Ms. Tambunting said. “(It) also has the capacity to reduce poverty because it allows small and micro enterprises to enter the market. “
She noted that greater digital awareness “would (better) equip Filipinos to do business.”
Marikina representative Stella Luz A. Quimbo cited a 2020 study conducted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific which found that the benefits of better digital infrastructure include ” access to wider international markets, improvement and efficiency of operations thanks to digital technology. -activated services, reduced trading costs… and greater access to the financial sector. “
Surigao del Sur representative Johnny T. Pimentel said that in India and parts of sub-Saharan Africa that are largely agricultural are using digital technology to help raise their farmers.
Mr. Pimentel said that “the ministers of these countries encourage the use of digital infrastructure to promote agribusiness and agricultural development by setting up mobile applications for selling and buying in the market and transport mediation “.
Lawmakers have recognized that the spread of COVID-19 has helped accelerate the process of digitization and cashless transactions due to movement restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
They also noted that the sector lacks established rules, while existing ones are outdated.
Various surveys, such as a survey conducted by Tech in Asia, reveal that the Philippines has some of the slowest and most expensive internet services. – Jaspearl Emeraude G. Tan