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The Philippines to Improve Remote Area Satellite Connectivity

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) of the Philippines aims to provide digital connectivity across the country’s many islands by constructing digital infrastructure, which will also lead to effective e-governance. DICT Secretary Ivan John E. Uy made the announcement, highlighting the key features of satellite connectivity, which is expected to be available in the country by the end of the year.

“This will bridge the digital divide in the country, especially in an archipelagic country like the Philippines where laying fibre cables or establishing cell towers in mountainous areas can be challenging,” says Secretary Ivan.

The project is expected to connect rural and remote communities where connectivity is unreliable or completely unavailable, as well as areas that are geographically isolated and underserved (GIDAs). This effort will give access to education, health care, and online banking, among other digital necessities, to those living in remote areas of the Philippines.

DICT clarified that they will not compete with the country’s existing telco providers, but rather act as a complementary connectivity provider to fill ‘gaps,’ particularly in unserved and underserved areas, to further expand connectivity.

Secretary Ivan also stated that the Philippines is now one of the most promising investment destinations in Asia, thanks to the recently amended Public Service Act, which liberalised the country to make it more investor friendly, resulting in more jobs and economic progress. He solicited the support of his fellow Filipinos by patiently waiting for the promised connectivity to be delivered.

Meanwhile, the i-Declare System, a streamlined and digitalised Customs Baggage and Currency Declaration process, was recently introduced by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) of the Philippines. The BOC reaches another milestone as the Philippines is the first nation in ASEAN to deploy a combined computerised Customs Baggage and Currencies Declaration System, and it is the third nation in ASEAN to implement an electronic Customs Baggage Declaration System after Singapore and Indonesia.

Other government agencies, including the Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Anti-Money Laundering Council, the BOC-Enforcement Group, and the BOC-Management Information System and Technology Group, collaborated to make this possible.

The i-Declare System allows passengers to complete their declarations online, in the comfort of their own homes, prior to flying or even when routing out to the Philippines.

The eCBCD Form is available through the i-Declare Kiosks located at the Customs Area and is originally being tested at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal One in case travellers miss this opportunity. In the next months, the kiosks will also be installed at other international airports.

This is done in accordance with Customs Memorandum Order (CMO) No. 11-2022, “Implementation of the Electronic Customs Baggage and Currency Declaration (eCBCD) System,” which outlines the procedures for clearing customs for all passengers and crew members using the said system in relation to Customs Administrative Order (CAO) No. 1-2017 dubbed as the “Customs Clearance of Accompanied and Unaccompanied Baggage of Passengers and Crew.”

BOC plans to integrate it with other government agencies for a more comprehensive approach to offering the public a one-stop-shop solution for all the governments’ clearance requirements. This initiative is part of a larger push to modernise the Bureau. To realise its goal of being one of the top customs administrations in the world, the Bureau of Customs will continue to introduce new technologies and programmes.

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