DICT backs bill seeking refund from telcos for service disruptions

Robie de Guzman   •   March 31, 2021   •   691

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has expressed support for a bill that seeks to require telecommunications companies and internet service providers to give refunds for service outages and interruptions.

The Senate Bill 2902 seeks to amend Republic Act 7925 or the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of the Philippines which was enacted into law in 1995.

Under the proposal, public telecommunications entities and internet service providers must, “on a pro-rated basis, provide a refund credit to a customer, or adjust a customer’s bill, who has experienced a service outage or disruption for an aggregate period of 24 hours or more within a month.”

The refund credit shall likewise be granted to customers subscribing to a service on a prepaid basis.

“It is only just and necessary that Filipinos get the quality of service they pay for,” DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Honasan stated that the DICT recognizes the challenges that telcos and ISPs face in the roll-out of their services in the country. He said the Common Tower Policy is one of the Department’s initiatives to provide assistance to the private sector in fast-tracking their infrastructure roll-out.

Department Circular (DC) No. 008, s. 2020 dated 29 May 2020 provides for the guidelines on the co-location and sharing of Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructure for Macro Cell Sites, or most commonly referred to as the Common Tower Policy.

The policy is expected to widen the base of common towers and will speed up the deployment of the internet across the country as it allows and encourages telcos and Internet service providers to share cell towers.

“Building their own towers is not only very costly but is also time-consuming given the amount of processing and construction work needed for each. Because of this, the private sector tends to invest in areas that will ensure return on investment, which are mostly in populated and urbanized areas,” Honasan said.

“With the common tower policy, private telcos and ISPs are given better opportunities to provide Internet services to other areas for lower costs and risks.  Hence, the roll-out of the internet in the country will be much faster and more extensive—the effects of which are already being felt with the moving up of our global internet rankings and the increase in both our mobile and fixed broadband speeds,” he added.

DICT in need of 50K volunteer data encoders for 3-day national vaccination days

Maris Federez   •   November 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Monday, November 15, announced that it is in search of, at least, 50,000 volunteer data encoders to be deployed for the coming 3-day national vaccination days slated from November 29 to December 1.

“Sa susunod na mga araw magpopost kami ng sign-up sheet for data encoders para pwede nating italaga sa bawat LGU lalung lalo na sa mahalagang activity ngayong November 29 to December 1, na tinatawag nating 3-day national vaccination days. Doon kailangan po natin ng almost 50,000 data encoders para matulungan ang ating mga LGU, lalung lalo na sa mga lugar na kulang ang kanilang mga marunong mag-encode,” DICT Usec. Manny Caintic said.

This, following the admission of the department that data encoding has become a challenge especially in the local government units (LGUs).

The department said the backlog in data encoding is now at 30% in the LGUs.

“Una sa lahat, mahirap magbakuna at naghahanap tayo ng paraan na magbakuna nang mabilis. Pangalawa, nanghihikayat din tayo sa ating mga tao na tumulong sa inyong mga LGU. Kailangan natin ng data encoders. Mahirap humagilap ng mga data encoder ang mga LGU kasi, una sa lahat, kailangan din natin silang pakainin, at kailangan natin silang bigyan ng incentive,” Caintic said.

“Malaking sanhi po talaga is sa data encoding. Nandoon man sa kanila ang datos, hindi pa nila nailagay sa system para mai-upload. Nasa 30% na naman ulit yung mga backlog sa mga LGU,” he added.

Caintic, on the other hand, lauded other LGUs, specifically the City of Manila and other cities, who have 100% submission rates of encoded data. —/mbmf

DICT releases 138,000 COVID-19 vaccination certificates

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 27, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) has released 138,000 vaccination certificates since VaxCertPH was launched last month.

DICT Undersecretary Manny Caintic said that the number of released certificates came from the 225,000 vaccine certificate requests received throughout the country.

On Saturday (September 25), the DICT announced it will expand its pilot rollout of VaxCertPH to other areas including Central Luzon, MIMAROPA, Metro Cebu, and Davao Region.

Dito sa mga regions na ito dito kami nagtutok. Dito tayo nagpatulong sa mga local government units na mag-set up ng data rectification booth, ibig sabihin kung mayroong isang magrereklamo na wala pa rin ang record niya sa vaccine immunization registry, pwedeng tulungan sila ng ilang LGU (We focused on these regions. We will seek the assistance of local government units to set up data rectification booths, so that if there is a complaint about a missing record in the vaccine immunization registry, the LGUs can help),” Caintic said.

Meanwhile, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and international travelers were given priority in the issuance of certificates.

VaxCertPH is a portal launched by the DICT and the Department of Health (DOH) which provides digital vaccination certificates to vaccinated individuals. AAC

DICT to launch digital vaccination certificate in September

Marje Pelayo   •   August 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is set to launch ‘Vax Cert PH,’ a portal where Filipinos can generate their digital vaccination certificate that can be used in contactless transactions amid the threat of COVID-19.

The project is in collaboration with the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

The DICT plans to release the ‘Vax Cert PH’ in the first week of September.

‘Vax Cert PH’ requires an individual to encode his or her name and other vaccination information such as the date of the first and second dose of COVID shots as well as the brand administered.

The portal can be accessed by providing the needed information and the system will look for the record.

After entering required details,  the portal will provide the applicant the requested digital vaccination card or certificate.

In case the information being searched is not found, the individual may approach his or her local government for assistance.

“Kapag nag-match, agad-agaran nya pong makukuha yung kanyang vaccine certificate, Kung hindi man, may contact center na tatawag sa kanila at aalalayan sila para makuha ito at kung sakaling hindi pa rin mahanap ang kanilang record. Posibleng hindi pa naipadala ng ng LGU ang kanilang record,” explained DICT Undersecretary Manny Caintic.

“Huwag magaalala kasi tinuturuan namin ang mga LGU ngayon kung paano matulungan ang kanilang mga constituent sa pagkuha at pag rectify at pagayos ng kanilang mga datos,” he added.

The DICT was tasked to design and create the portal while the DOH manages the public’s vaccination records.

Currently, the DICT is conducting a full training among LGU representatives on how to handle the system.

“Hintay lang ng konti, okay na ang system handa na sya sana at naka integrate na ito sa Wolrd Health Organization Countries kaso lang gusto lang natin ng sapat na panahon para magkaroon ng kumpiyansa ang ating mga LGU,” Caintic said.

The official said the digital vaccination certificate has security features to prevent forging and the agency assured the said digital certificate will be recognized in other countries as it is based on the standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Ang vaccine information data ay talagang iisa lang ang source at ito po ay pinoproteksyunan sa pagtutulungan po namin at ang pag-i-issue po ng vaccine certificate ay privately encrypted at ito’y hawak lang po ng Department of Health,” Caintic said.

The DICT confirmed that most LGUs have already submitted their records on COVID vaccination with Metro Manila having the highest compliance rate. MNP (with reports from Marvin Calas)

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