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Ako Bicol solon prods IATF to probe Smart, PLDT service interruption

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Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin prodded the IATF to ascertain the impact of the PLDT and Smart service interruptions on public services, banking, financial transactions, online classes, online selling, and e-commerce using the telco’s services.

“Apologies and appeals for understanding are not enough. I ask the IATF, DICT, and NTC to immediately issue a show cause order to PLDT, Smart, Skycable, and Cignal TV,” Garbin said.

The Bicolano solon said the country deserves a detailed formal explanation for these telecommunication services providers’ several days of service interruptions and degraded services because of submarine cable maintenance work and an alleged “sun outage”.

“If the explanations are less than satisfactory, PLDT, Smart, Skycable, and Cignal TV should be swiftly slapped with administrative fines, penalties, and other sanctions,” said Garbin.

“These developments come while our country tries to survive in the new normal by living much of our lives online with physical distancing and contactless transactions and interactions,” he added

Garbin said that apologies are not enough, especially that millions of Filipinos will be affected.

“Hindi pwede ang sorry sa ganyan. Milyung milyong tao at libu-libong mga negosyo ang apektado tapos sorry lang? Bukod sa rebate, magbayad kayo ng multa,” said Garbin.

“The PLDT, Smart, and Skycable advisories to the public gave everyone only a few days’ notice. Submarine cable maintenance work requires considerable planning. Does PLDT want us to believe they only had short notice of the maintenance schedule?,” he added

Following the announcement of Smart and PLDT of possible service interruption, several schools suspended online classes by declaring mental health breaks.

“This situation highlights the need for up to 4 or 5 major industry players in telecoms and internet services. DICT and DTI must invite more investors so our country will not be vulnerable to widespread disruptions,” Garbin said