Press Release
September 7, 2010

Enrile seeks end to cable TV signal theft

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has filed a bill that would protect the Philippine cable television industry from signal theft and illegal connections.

In filing Senate Bill No. 2345, Enrile explained that cable TV has significantly helped in the fast and effective delivery of information, education and entertainment to Filipinos.

However, Enrile said, signal theft and illegal connections have caused huge losses to the cable TV industry due to lost market and higher programming costs. In 2004, the industry reportedly lost P3.92 billion, almost 55% of which, or P2.13 billion, was foregone government revenues in the form of taxes, import duties and licensing fees. In 2005, industry losses had already increased to P5 billion.

As of June 2005, the number of illegal cable subscribers was estimated at 835,000, or an increase of 28% from 650,000 the previous year. The number of legitimate subscribers decreased by 15%, from 880,000 in 2004 to 750,000 in June 2005.

The Enrile measure will make it illegal to intercept or receive, or assist in intercepting or receiving, any signal or service provided by cable TV and internet systems or network by tapping or other means of unauthorized connection.

The bill also seeks to prohibit the unauthorized importation, sale, lease, distribution or possession of electronic equipment that allow for unauthorized access into the system or network of the cable TV or internet service operator.

The proposed measure likewise makes it a prohibited act to knowingly use or receive any direct or indirect service or other benefits from cable TV and cable internet services.

The bill will also penalize those who will wantonly, maliciously or willfully damage, destroy or remove cable TV and or cable internet facilities and accessories of authorized cable TV and cable internet service operators which results in system disruption or network degradation.

The bill provides penalties for any of the four prohibited acts and urges the National Telecommunications Commission and the Cable Television Associations in the Philippines to collectively undertake a vigorous public information campaign on the key provisions of the bill once it is signed into law.

Enrile said that while some local government units have already issued local ordinances to protect the industry, there is still an urgent need to enact national legislation to ensure the survival and sustainability of the Philippine cable TV industry.

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