Application for a permanent mobile number is free — NTC guidelines

Marje Pelayo   •   June 18, 2019   •   5844

FILE PHOTO: AREUTERS/Andrew Kelly

MANILA, Philippines — The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has issued the guidelines for the implementation of Republic Act 11202 or the “Mobile Number Portability Act”; the law that allows mobile phone users to maintain a permanent number even when they switch service providers.

Memorandum Circular No. 03062019 outlines the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of law that was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in February this year.

Under the guidelines, mobile users may apply for a permanent number free of charge.

No interconnection charges shall be charged for domestic calls and text messages.

Mobile users who wish to apply for a permanent number should have no outstanding financial obligations with their current network.

Users should have no pending request for transfer of the assigned mobile number and the number should be active for at least 60 days.

Meanwhile, all telecommunication companies will share one mobile number portability service provider (MNPSP) to be chosen by existing service providers within 120 days after the circular takes effect.

All expenses for the software, hardware and other facilities required by the MNPSP will be shared by all telecommunication companies.

Violation of the regulations may cost service providers revocation of their franchise and a fine of up to P1 million.

NTC supports proposed measure on non-expiration of franchise pending renewal

Marje Pelayo   •   May 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has expressed support on a proposed measure seeking the non-expiration of franchises with renewal applications pending in Congress.

Senate Bill Number 1530 filed by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon aims to include franchise in Book 7 Chapter 3 Section 18 of the Administrative Code of the Philippines which states that an existing license of a licensee who has made a timely and sufficient renewal application shall not expire until the application has been finally determined.

During the Committee hearing on Thursday (May 27), the NTC said the measure will fill in the gap in the law, noting that it is following Republic Act 3846 or the ‘Radio Control Law’ which provides that no person or firm can operate a radio station without having first obtained a congressional franchise.

“Malaking bagay po ito para po ma-fix ang gap sa batas para po kapag may pending matters ay ito po ay mai-consider na buhay pa [This will help fill the gap in the law to consider a franchise as valid while matters are pending],” explained NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba.

However, the Commission said that it never issued provisional franchises to stations with expired franchises but with pending renewal applications in Congress and just allowed them to continue operating.

Cordoba said what makes the case of ABS-CBN different from others that they had to issue a cease and desist order, was the quo warranto petition filed against the media giant.

He added that they have issued such orders before but only to radio stations who illegally operated during the 2019 elections.

“The difference from those instances on the ABS-CBN issue is that (with) ABS-CBN, a case for quo warranto was actually filed by the solicitor general. Kaya po medyo naging [That’s why it became] untenable on our part to let it continue because of the clear letter of the law in the Republic Act 3846,” Cordoba said.

However, Senator Drilon believes there has been an inconsistency on the part of the NTC in exercising its power in issuing cease and desist orders.

“At the very least, it appears that there is an inconsistency in exercising power (inaudible) in equal protection of the law,” the Senate Minority leader said.

“This is precisely a remedial legislation that we have introduced so that this kind of gap can be addressed,” he concluded. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

Senate adopts resolution urging NTC to reconsider shutdown order vs ABS-CBN

Robie de Guzman   •   May 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate on Monday adopted a resolution urging the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to reconsider the cease and desist order it issued against the ABS-CBN Corporation.

The upper chamber approved Senate Resolution No. 395 after 12 senators voted in favor of it, while nine abstained.

Among those who abstained from voting on the resolution are Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senators Pia Cayetano, Panfilo Lacson, Francis Tolentino, Cynthia Villar, Imee Marcos, Ronald Dela Rosa, Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, and Bong Revilla.

The senators who abstained from voting argued that the issue has already been filed before the Supreme Court and that the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN should emanate from the House of Representatives.

Cayetano, who initially signed the resolution, said she withdrew her signature as she would like to refrain from expressing her views while the issue remains pending at the High Court.

The resolution reiterated the Senate’s stand that the ABS-CBN, its subsidiaries and affiliates, should be allowed to continue operations pending the disposition of its franchise renewal.

The NTC issued a shutdown order against ABS-CBN after its franchise expired on May 4.

The media network went off air in compliance with the order but it filed a petition before the Supreme Court, claiming that the NTC gravely abused its discretion when it issued the order instead of deferring to Congress, which has the plenary power to grant and renew legislative franchises.

On Monday, the Supreme Court said the petition has been raffled to a magistrate while the House committee on legislative franchises issued a show cause order, asking the NTC to explains its action.

ABS-CBN petition vs NTC order raffled to SC justice – spox

Robie de Guzman   •   May 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The plea of the ABS-CBN Corporation against the order of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) that forced it to halt its broadcast operations last week has been raffled off to a Supreme Court (SC) magistrate, its spokesperson confirmed Monday.

In a message to reporters, Supreme Court spokesperson Brian Keith Hosaka said the ABS-CBN’s petition has been raffled to a member-in-charge on Monday morning.

“I just want to confirm that the new petition filed by ABS-CBN against NTC has been raffled this morning to a member-in-charge,” Hosaka said.

“The results of the raffle is confidential pursuant to the internal rules of the Supreme Court,” he added.

A member-in-charge is a magistrate who will be in-charge of the progress of the case, according to SC’s internal rules.

The ABS-CBN Corporation’s petition seeks to nullify and set aside the cease and desist order issued by the NTC.

The media network also pleaded for the release of a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction “to prevent grave and irreparable injury” to the company and its employees.

In its petition, the media network said the NTC acted with grave abuse of discretion and violated its rights to equal protection and due process by issuing the order.

The company claimed that the NTC should have deferred to Congress that have earlier sent a formal letter asking the agency to allow ABS-CBN to continue operating while bills seeking for its franchise renewal remain pending in the House of Representatives.

The NTC issued a cease and desist order on May 5, directing ABS-CBN to stop operating its various TV and radio broadcasting stations nationwide due to the expiration of its legislative franchise. The network’s franchise expired on May 4.

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