January 28, 2013
Senate passes bill prohibiting and penalizing
The Senate of the Philippines today passed on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 3345 prohibiting cable television and internet tapping and penalizing offenders with imprisonment of two to five years and/or a fine of P50,000 to P100,000.
With the passage of Senate Bill No. 3345 or the Anti-Cable Television and Cable Internet Tapping Act of 2012, illegal tapping of any signal offered over cable television (CATV) or cable internet system and the malicious destruction or removal of authorized CATV or cable internet facilities will be prohibited.
The bill also prohibits recording, reproducing, distributing, importing or selling of any intercepted or received CATV system/network signals for commercial purposes without the authority of the concerned CATV or cable internet service provider.
"Cable television and cable internet industries serve as effective sources of news, information, education, sports events and entertainment programs. They have been recognized as effective media for the attainment of a well-informed, well-versed and culturally refined citizenry," Sen. Gregorio 'Gringo' Honasan said in his sponsorship speech.
"The continued expansion of these industries is challenged by unauthorized interception, reception or use of their signals and services," Honasan added.
During recent a public hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media chaired by Honasan, it was reported that there is an estimated 1.5 million unauthorized cable connections as opposed to 2 million legitimate cable subscribers which resulted in huge losses that legitimate cable television operators suffer from cable pilferage, lost market share, higher programming cost and foregone revenue.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile also expressed his concern that statistics from 2004 showed that the cable industry reportedly lost P3.92 billion from signal theft and illegal connections. According to Enrile, P2.13 billion was "foregone government revenues in the form of taxes, import duties and licensing fees" for that year. In the following year, the cable industry losses increased to P5 billion.
"There is no existing law that addresses large scale pilferage of cable wires and cable transmissions in the Philippines. The government must respond to the clamor of CATV providers for a law that would shield them against the high incidence of cable theft. Cable TV theft not only causes huge operational losses on the part of CATV operators, but also greatly affects the signal and standard of service on the part of the subscribers. The unauthorized tapping into the systems of cable operators poses grave and severe threats to the existence and survival of the CATV and cable internet industry," Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. said.
Meanwhile, an Act honoring and granting benefits and privileges to Filipino centenarians has also been passed on third reading by the Senate today.
Under the Centenarians Act of 2012 (Senate Bill No. 3328), Filipinos who have reached their one hundredth birthday and above will receive a letter from the President of the Philippines congratulating the celebrant for his/her longevity and will receive a centenarian's gift of P100,000. Additionally, the city or municipal government shall award a plaque of recognition and cash incentive to the Filipino centenarian.
All centenarians will also be entitled to 75 percent discount on the sale of goods and services from all establishments for the "exclusive use and enjoyment or availment of the centenarian."
Senate Bill No. 3328 also declares September 25 as National Respect for Centenarians Day.
"Living to a hundred years old is a rarity in this day and age. Maintaining a healthy and active life has become a challenge. Illnesses and diseases associated with modern lifestyle cause death," Sen. Francis Pangilinan said.
It can be noted that the 2010 census released by the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed that there is an estimated 8,000 or .008 percent of the population who have lived over 100 years old.
"It is rare that anyone reaches the age of 100. Most live up to 60 years old; some reach the age of 80 if lucky. The amount of P100,000 would be a small token from the government in recognition of our centenarians," Pangilinan said. (APPLE BUENAVENTURA, PRIB)
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