Metro Manila, PHILIPPINES— “The Internet is a human right,” said Professor Roque, “and the Government has a duty to make sure that Filipinos get what they deserve, especially when they’re paying for it.”
Professor Harry Roque Jr. said this amidst netizens constantly expressing their anger and disgust over the expensive yet spotty internet connection in the country. Roque is a professor of Constitutional Law at the UP College of Law and the Director of the Institute of International Legal Studies.
The Philippines is lagging in Asia and the world in terms of Internet speed. The average global Internet speed is 24.2 mbps (megabytes per second). In stark contrast, the Philippines gets a miserly 3.7 mbps.
The National Telecommunications Commission signed a memorandum in August of this year redefining broadband services, setting the minimum broadband speed at 256 kpbs (kilobytes per second). Failure to render this service 80% of the time, roughly 24 days per months, will result to administrative sanctions.
But for Prof. Roque and a huge number of netizens, this move was insufficient. Good service is still lacking.
“The United Nations, way back in 2011, recognized access to the Internet as a human right,” he added. “More than that, it is an enabler of rights, including the right of the freedom of speech, and the right of freedom of assembly, both of which are guaranteed under the 1987 Philippine Constitution.”
“Poor access to the Internet also impedes development, which is against the principles and state policies under our Constitution,” he stressed.