National Telecommunications Commission in Davao Region Director Nelson Cañete. (PNA photo by Digna Banzon)

DAVAO CITY – The National Telecommunications Commission in Davao Region (NTC-11) said it has collected over PHP68 million within the first seven months of the year, surpassing their target for 2020 by PHP4 million

NTC-11 Director Nelson Cañete reported that for July alone the agency managed to generate some PHP39.8 million in revenues.

"As of last month we already surpassed our target of PHP64 million for this year despite the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic," Cañete said during the virtual BizForum held Tuesday.

He said 75 percent of the collection came from telecommunication companies on fees for the renewal of permits and also on the modification of their equipment to improve services.

The remaining 25 percent are from registration of handsets, stores for mobile phones, and repair shops for cellular phones.

During the forum, Cañete addressed the issues on poor internet service in the country, saying it has been a problem long before the coronavirus pandemic and compounded even further by high bandwidth usage when most Filipinos had to work or study at home.

Cañete said the problem lies with telecommunication firms, echoing President Rodrigo Duterte's recent tirades about poor connectivity in the country.

Most of the telcos, he said, still have backlogs in their tower installations that go as far as two years.

Cañete urged telcos to "comply with the requirements" so that local governments can issue permits for them to build more towers and increase capacity.

Still, Cañete was sympathetic with most of the telcos, which he said are commonly burdened by redundant and often unnecessary permitting requirements imposed by local governments. The problem, he said, is compounded by the opposition of residents near a proposed tower over health concerns.

"Our internet really is poor because when we compare our speed with Singapore, which has a download speed of 104.85 mbps. Our actual reading in Davao City particularly in Matina Aplaya area was only 4.85 mbps," the NTC-11 chief said.

"With the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) being on top of this together with the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), the NTC and the LGUs, we expect that these tasks be fast-tracked," Cañete said. (PNA)