By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Wednesday issued an urgent plea to telecommunications companies to improve the delivery of their services as schools and families continue to confront significant challenges in their transition to blended learning.
“Bayad naman kayo. Paki-usap, ayusin niyo naman po. ‘Yun na ang tulong niyo sa panahong ito. Ayusin niyo ang serbisyo niyo….maraming Pilipino na gustong mag-aral at makapagtapos ng pag-aaral ngayong school year. Tapos kailangan pang lumalabas [ng bahay] para humanap ng signal,” Go said during an interview after distributing aid to over 2,000 typhoon victims in Arayat and Candaba, Pampanga on Monday, December 14.
“Mismo kaming [mga] public officials, hirap sa session namin sa Senado. Nagkakaputol-putol nga, di kami magkadinigan. Paano na lang ang mga nasa malalayong lugar?” he asked.
The Senator, who also serves as chair of the Senate Committee on Health, noted the impact of the crisis on the mental health of Filipinos, particularly the youth. He voiced concern over the impact of the transition to new modes of teaching and learning as well as the social and economic consequences of the pandemic on the mental and emotional well-being of families.
“Marami ang nade-depress, experiencing anxiety. ‘Yun ang tutukan nating mga Pilipino, ‘yung depression na nararamdaman,” he added.
The Senator stressed the country can no longer wait before addressing the critical need for better broadband services as schools, businesses and government services transition online.
He sternly warned telecom companies that he would personally raise the matter with the President should complaints from their customers continue to persist.
“Full support kami ni Pangulong [Rodrigo] Duterte sa mga telcos pero interes na po ng mga kababayan natin ang pag-uusapan. Magsasalita na po ako kapag ‘di niyo inayos ang serbisyo. Ibubulong ko kay Pangulo Duterte ang mga kapalpakan na nangyayari sa telcos!” vowed Go.
He maintained the responsibility now lies with the companies after efforts has been made to streamline the permits process for the construction of cell towers by reducing the number of requirements from 86 to 35 and the processing time from an average of eight months to just sixteen days.
A bill that will help accelerate the roll-out of telecommunication infrastructure is also set to be signed into law. Senate Bill No. 1844, a measure co-authored and co-sponsored by Go, shall give the President of the Philippines the authority to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses and certifications in times of national emergency.
“Tinutulungan naman kayo ni Pangulong Duterte…. so walang rason na matatagalan. So, sa mga telcos, the ball is in your hands right now,” he said.
“Gawan niyo ng paraan. Huwag niyo ipasa sa taumbayan ang hirap… Ang dami na pong hirap ng Pilipino. Ayusin niyo ang serbisyo niyo, tutal bayad naman kayo. Unahin muna natin ang serbisyo bago ang profit,” he ended. (FC/MTVN)