Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno ( Bloomberg )

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said the use of satellites for internet connectivity is a game changer in the country’s financial inclusion initiatives.

“This will be a big push for financial inclusion toward a more resilient and truly inclusive digitally-enabled new economy,” said Diokno, who as chairman of the inter-agency Financial Inclusion Steering Committee (FISC) has approached President Duterte last November 27 to issue an executive order (EO) in aid of achieving a cash-lite economy by end-2022 to middle of 2023.

Diokno said he is grateful for Duterte’s signing of EO No. 127 (Expanding the Provision of Internet Services through Inclusive Access to Satellite Services) last Wednesday, March 10. He considered this “swift” EO approval as “tangible demonstration of his (Duterte’s) commitment to genuine reforms.”

EO No. 127 amends a 1998 EO No. 467. It now allowed both enfranchised and non-enfranchised telecommunication companies and registered internet service providers (ISP) and value added service providers (VASP) to “directly access all satellite systems to build and operate broadband facilities to offer internet services.”

In a statement, the BSP said EO No. 127 will encourage competition and investment in the country’s satellite broadband services market, that it will “bridge the massive internet infrastructure gaps in rural communities within a short time.”

Satellite technology will enable “instant and readily deployable broadband infrastructure” for the unserved areas, the BSP said. “The whole country can be connected swiftly as more market players – especially those positioned to serve their local communities – will be able (to) directly access any of the fourteen high throughput satellites covering the country to provide broadband services,” it said. 

The 20-member FISC, when it endorsed the  EO to Duterte, said that internet connectivity “is a critical enabler of financial and economic inclusion as transactions and services increasingly move online” and that banks and other financial service providers can reach more areas for automated teller machines and cash agent services that are internet-based.

The BSP-led FISC is also advocating for the approval of the proposed Open Access in Data Transmission Act. Last February 2, the FISC endorsed the bill to the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council or LEDAC as a priority legislative measure.

The Open Access bill as Senate Bill No. 45 has been pending approval for some time. The proposed bill seeks to eliminate barriers to market entry and to reduce broadband costs.

Source: Manila Bulletin (