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50 to create a specialized Department of Information and Communications Technology, citing the need to boost the country’s competitiveness through a streamlining of ICT-related agencies. The bill has been pending before a bicameral conference committee since March 2012.
Three years later, on March 11, 2015, some members of the 16th Congress reintroduced the bill as Senate Bill No.
Mobile phone subscribers experienced widespread blocking of network coverage in the capital region during the visit of the Catholic Church leader Pope Francis.
For almost five days in January, service providers blocked network coverage for almost 20 million people living in the Manila metropolitan area on the direct order of the president through the National Telecommunications Commission.
Countermeasures to this law, the Magna Carta for Internet Freedom and the Crowdsourcing Act of 2013, were stalled in the legislature during the coverage period of this report.
On a positive note, the Senate approved a Freedom of Information bill in 2014, with its counterpart in the lower chamber awaiting second reading.
All relevant government bodies are headed by presidential appointees.
Critics believe this creates a dependence on the incumbent administration, which determines their budget.
Although rare, blocking and filtering of content is allowed under a law that requires ISPs to prevent access to pornographic sites. The Department of Justice briefly sought to block Canada-based online dating site Ashley Madison after it launched in the country in November 2014. According to Department Secretary Leila De Lima, “The website is a platform that allows illegal acts to be eventually committed.
However, the division of labor between this office and the Department of Transportation and Communications, which also deals with ICT-related communications, as well as the National Computer Center and the Telecommunications Office, is hard to perceive.
If an ICT department is approved, all other ICT-related agencies will be abolished and their powers and personnel transferred to its jurisdiction.
Second, they need to apply for certification from the National Telecommunications Commission.
The constitution limits foreign ownership of local businesses to 40 percent.
Online activism was less prominent than in previous years, when activists organized street protests through online campaigning.