The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) called out the government for not spending a centavo for the development of Internet services in the Philippines and leaving the burden to private telecommunications companies.
The currently proposed P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget will be the first time telecommunications infrastructure is included in the government’s budget. The allocation for Internet connectivity development, however, is shockingly P900 million only, as per the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) approval.
The Senate issued an increase to the budget by P5.9 billion to fast-track the rollout of network services as connectivity became indispensable amid the ongoing pandemic.
The Philippines barely made a viable investment to improve connectivity compared to nearby countries. NTC data showed that the Vietnamese government invested about P39.4 billion, Malaysia allotted P11.2 billion, Thailand spent P16.5 billion, and Singapore raked P81.6 billion for connectivity development.
While the Philippines’ overall connectivity has improved threefold this year, NTC noted it still lags compared to its neighbors. The issues arising from the lack of adequate internet connectivity are felt in the education sector.