MANILA - The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 1277, or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act.
With a vote of 18-0, the Senate approved the measure which will establish a program that seeks to provide free access to Internet services in all public places all over the country.
In a statement, Senator Francis Pangilinan, the bill's principal author, said the measure will benefit families, students and even government offices.
"Madali nang magagamit ng ating mga mag-aaral ang Internet para sa kanilang pag-aaral; mas mapapadalas na ang pagtawag ng mga pamilya sa kanilang mga kamag-anak na OFW sa ibang bansa; at marami nang makakagamit ng mga pampublikong serbisyo ng gobyerno na kailangan ng koneksyon sa Internet," he said.
(Students can now easily access the Internet for their studies; families can now frequently contact their loved ones abroad; and public government services requiring Internet connectivity can now be accessed by many.)
The bill, if enacted into law, will provide free internet access to public places such as national and local government offices, public basic education institutions, state universities and colleges, public hospitals and health centers, public parks, plazas and libraries, public airports and seaports and public terminals.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will be the lead agency to implement the Free Public Internet Access Program. It will also set standards and qualifications to determine the public spaces and government offices to be included and prioritized in the program.
"Ang pag-provide natin ng libreng Internet access sa ating publiko ay isang hakbang upang gawing makabago ang Internet connectivity sa ating bansa. Pinapasalamatan natin si Sen. Bam Aquino sa kanyang pagtulak na mabilisang maipasa ang mahalagang panukalang batas na ito sa Senado," Pangilinan said.
(Providing free wireless Internet access to our public is a step toward modernizing our country’s Internet connectivity. We thank Sen. Bam Aquino for pushing for the speedy passage of this landmark piece of legislation in the Senate.)
Among the senators who voted in favor of the bill were Senators Aquino, Nancy Binay, Franklin Drilon, Francis Escudero, JV Ejercito, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan II, Risa Hontiveros, Panfilo Lacson, Manny Pacquiao, Francis Pangilinan, Grace Poe, Ralph Recto, Vicente Sotto III, Antonio Trillanes IV, Cynthia Villar and Juan Miguel Zubiri.