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Newly enacted Telecommuting Act requires reliable internet connection

Providing reliable internet connection for workers is the priority of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) as they urged telecommunication companies to level up their game.

According to a recent report, possible increase in demand for faster and more reliable internet connection is predicted after the announcement that Republic Act 11165 or the Telecommuting Act was signed into law by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

With this Act, the State shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare, especially in the light of technological development that has opened up new and alternative avenues for employees to carry out their work.

The ball is now on the court of the companies to gear up for this possible increase.

A game-changing labour policy, the Telecommuting Act is a law seen to ease traffic problems in the metropolitan areas as it will institutionalise telecommuting.

Telecommuting is a work arrangement allowing employees to work from alternative workplaces with the use of information, communications and technology (ICT) tools.

It is high time to adopt policies that promote ICT solutions to the daily problems such as traffic.

On their part, the telecommunication companies must embrace their role in these initiatives and see it as opportunities.

A work-from-home proposal was actually one of the first waves of initiatives of the newly established DICT in 2016.

They spearheaded the drafting of the industry-backed resolution to mitigate the worsening traffic condition.

Besides reducing traffic, the Department’s Acting Secretary also saw that the promotion of such working arrangement could spur content and application development in the country related to telecommuting.

It was reported last year by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that around US$ 67 million (PHP 3.5 billion) is lost by the Philippine economy in traffic congestion alone.

This amount may go as high as US$ 104 million (PHP 5.4 billion) by 2035 if no interventions are made.

Thus, the success of the work-from-home scheme will depend greatly on the quality of Internet connectivity, which is a factor that the government is pushing to improve.

The government is upping the ante when it comes to investing on ICT projects, but if the impact is to be felt by the people sooner, the telecommunication companies should do the same.

The Acting Secretary furthered by citing the entry of the new major player and the lighting up of government-owned broadband network as next milestones in the coming months.

In addition, the Department’s Assistant Secretary also expressed optimism on how the passage of the Act will improve the average Filipino’s work effectiveness.

This will increase workers productivity by working at home than spending unproductive hours in traffic.

The Department embraces the development and will also continue to lobby for the passage of the Open Access and Spectrum Management bills while endorsing an industry-friendly common tower policy.

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