Speech by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. at the 23rd International Cable Congress and Exhibit of the Federation of International Cable Television and Telecommunications Association of the Philippines (FICTAP)

Speeches 3 March 2023

Thank you very much Speaker Martin Romualdez for your introduction.

The officers and members of the Federation of International Cable TV and Telecommunications Association of the Philippines or FICTAP led by National Chairperson Estrellita Juliano-Tamano and National Conference Chairperson Dr. Cecilia Dy. [Oh please, take…]; other distinguished guests today present; ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.

I am certainly very happy to be here with you all and within the company of our distinguished stakeholders from the cable and telecommunications sector today as you hold the 23rd International Cable Congress and Exhibit.

The cable television and cable internet industry has been at the forefront of revolutionizing and modernizing our society and it has gone into every aspect of our daily life.

It has not only survived and thrived in the digital age, but also served as an important platform that helped our people survive during calamities, during emergencies.

This crucial role of your industry was highlighted and shown in its true importance during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, when you provided hope to many of your fellow Filipinos that utilized your facilities and — services and facilities.

During these difficult times, you served as a communications conduit for food distribution, purchase and transport of essential commodities, the facilitation of health and telemedicine concerns in the rural areas, amongst others.

Once again, it proved that amidst the isolation and travel restrictions, we can overcome the adversities through our bayanihan spirit.

You have played a very large part in the transformation of our economies into the digital world. And as we all know, COVID changed everything. You were part of that change. Everything now is done online and we unfortunately in government have fallen behind.

And so that is what we are trying to catch up, that is why the digitalization program of this government has been at the forefront of all our efforts.

So with the role that you play and on behalf of the Filipino people, I thank you and salute you for all your noteworthy efforts.

Now more than ever, it is imperative that we continue to demonstrate renewed vigor in expanding the role in the new normal — from delivering traditional cable television to providing telecommunications and value-added services.

Let me thus commend the FICTAP for gathering local and international cable enterprises, technology providers, exhibitors, and stakeholders to share best practices and new initiatives in the ever-evolving field of digital technology.

As you hold this important congress, I ask you
to closely collaborate with the government in pursuing initiatives for the digitization of our services, the expansion of our MSMEs, and the establishment of information and communications technologies in remote areas in the country.

If we are to sustain our soaring economy, we must help small- to medium-scale industries in using digital platforms to improve their services and to connect with their consumers and also their colleagues in the same industry or in the same line of business.

For its part, the government has pursued key initiatives such as the National Broadband Program, Free WiFi for All Program, the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure, and the establishment of shared Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructure Sites, amongst other programs. These initiatives will build up our country’s digital infrastructure and achieve our targets in the Philippine Development Plan for 2023-2028.

We in government are your partners in improving the speed, reliability, affordability, and accessibility of internet and communications services.

I therefore enjoin the cable and telecommunications sector and the DICT to continue aligning and synchronizing your plans and programs so that we can improve public access to information and communications technology, as well as to provide the best digital services that we can to Filipinos not only in the urban areas, most especially those located in the remote parts of our country.

It has been a jarring realization when we took a survey and we — just slowly after the lockdowns and we took a survey on how Filipinos use — those who have access to internet, how they use the internet.

And essentially, the results of the survey were this: That every single aspect of life was done through the internet. We order our food through the internet. We say hello to our friends through the internet. We do our banking on the internet. In certain cases, we work at home through the internet.

And so it would look like that in the daily life of Filipinos, all the aspects of the internet, of their chores, of the things that they need to do are done through the internet and they speak with all the different stakeholders, all the different sectors through the internet, except government.

Filipinos do everything through the internet except talk to their government because government as I said, has been left behind, and so we need your help. We need your advice. We need your work to help us accelerate the rate at which we improve our connectivity, the rate at which we improve the bandwidth, and all of the different aspects that have to come together to provide us the proper road down to complete digitalization.

I have always said that digitalization is not something that we see: “This might be a good option that we should try.” “Maybe we should try digitalization.” It is no longer that. It has never… It is now become an essential part of the global economy.

We cannot do business without good internet coverage. We cannot trade with other countries without good internet and without good telecommunications. We cannot do all of the things that are necessary to transform our economy without good connectivity, with a high bandwidth, with good speed, and at a very affordable price. This is the aspiration. And in this, I hope, that we can band together and help each other and make it happen.

I hope that the collaboration among the government and the private sector, the cable industry stakeholders will not end here — we still have more endeavors to accomplish where we could use our knowledge, experience and expertise for the benefit of our country.

So, let’s work together, make our dream of a better, brighter, more connected Philippines a reality. That is the hope and we hope to have you by our side as we go down that road.

Thank you and good day. [applause]

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