• Poe sponsors bill extending Smart franchise

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    SMART telecommunications Inc. is a step closer to getting another 25-year legislative franchise after the measure seeking to extend it was formally sponsored on plenary Wednesday.

    Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Senate committee on public services presented the committee report on House Bill No. 4637, introducing amendments to Republic Act (RA) 7294 which originally granted Smart a 25-year legislative franchise in 1992.

    In her sponsorship speech, Poe noted that it would have been convenient for the legislature to roll over Smart’s franchise by simply extending it but it is also the duty of lawmakers to make sure that the company will provide excellent service to its 56 million subscribers.

    Poe however admitted that while her committee wants to include service guarantees, performance benchmarks, improvement pledges, impose penalties for “lousy service,” prohibit dropped calls, slow Internet, false advertising, it cannot do so since it is not included in the franchise renewal.

    “Unfortunately these do not fall within the ambit of a legislative franchise. It is a function of regulation,” she lamented

    Among the key provisions of the measure include the prerequisite for Smart to make a public offering, retaining the original wording in its original franchise that mandated 30 percent of its authorized capital stock must be listed through the stock exchange.

    The House version deleted the said provision.

    The Senate also wants to compel Smart to install facilities and bring under its coverage areas not yet served, particularly calamity-prone ones, where the presence of telecommunication services can help in times of disaster.

    “We are requiring it (Smart) to upgrade and program its entire infrastructure to be on standby to send out free mobile disaster alerts as mandated by Republic Act 10639,” Poe said.

    The Senate version also included a provision requiring congressional consent on the sale, lease, transfer, usufruct or assignment of the franchise, except in certain cases.

    Smart’s franchise expires this month. Jefferson Antiporda

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    2 Comments

    1. Juan Delacruz on

      Senator Grace Poe have made tons of money on this deal, compliments of SMART Telecommunications, Inc. for getting them another 25 years of lousy service. Another insult is her legislative proposal, House Bill 4637, to ament the RA 7294, and what does her proposed bill do is to automatically extend SMART permit to operate for another lousy 25 years. What she has been doing is screwing 56 million subscribers and the Filipino Public in general. The Telecom giant have promised so many improvement many years ago but nothing have materialized as of today. Lumipad lang sa hangin yung mga pangako nila noon, and it will be another repetition again, promises that have never fulfilled. The most thing that Senator Grace Poe would have done is to extend their permit to 5 years, and this way, would give the telecom giant to fulfill its promises to upgrade equipment and services (If there were no money or paying back the favor involved).

      Senator Grace Poe is the chairperson of Senate Committee on Public Service and what this means is , she should be working on behalf of the consumers and the Filipino public in general. She is doing the other way around at sa ngayon, ginigisa niya ang mga Pilipino sa sarili nilang mantika. Either nasupalpalan siya at ang kanyang committee ng maraming pera or she is just returning a favor, tumatanaw lang ba ng utang na loob dahil sa kanyan Presidential campaign contributions? Ginagawa niyang masyadong BOBO ang mga Pilipino.

      ***Nagtatanong lang po ako, and I hope The manila Times will print this comment.

    2. Magkano ang binayad kay Poe na walang magawa na aksyon para mag improve ang quality of service ng Smart? Necessity na ngayon ang communication through various technology at ito ay kasama na sa Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.