Press Release
July 22, 2021

Transcript of Sen. Grace Poe's opening statement
Senate committee on public services hearing
July 22, 2021

This afternoon, we will consider 40 local bills on the establishment and conversion of various Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) offices, and 14 franchise bills: three broadcast, eight telecommunications, two power and one race track.

We have a lengthy agenda but it is not impossible to finish all in an afternoon. These are straightforward measures which have all been vetted by this committee. On the other hand, we may still have some concerns. For an orderly and productive discussion, we will first tackle the local bills followed by the franchise bills.

Before anything else, nais ko pong ipaalala sa lahat na ang sentro ng pagdinig na ito ay serbisyo publiko. We need to have the same objective in providing better public services to our fellow Filipinos.

For the local bills, the enactment of these measures would mean greater accessibility and improvement in services for our motoring public. Mababawasan na ang gastos o pasahe, at hindi na rin ubos oras ang pagbiyahe sa malalayong sangay ng LTO, LTFRB at MARINA. Dahil hindi na crowded ang mga opisina, mas maikli na rin ang pila at hindi na maghihintay ng matagal ang ating mga kababayan. Mailalaan ang kanilang pera at oras sa mga mas makabuluhang bagay sa kanilang buhay at mga pamilya.

Second, these new offices mean better working conditions for our fellow public servants in the covered offices. Existing satellite and extension offices were created merely through administrative orders; thus, they are inherently limited in terms of capacity and budget. Their employees, who are either borrowed from other district offices or are job order personnel, take the responsibility of heavy workload due to high daily transactions which exceed their office's internal capacity.

The conversion of these extension and satellite offices into regular district offices will provide plantilla positions and more funding. Ang mga manggagawa ay magiging regular, makakatanggap sila ng mas nararapat na pasahod, at mabibigyan ng mas maayos na pasilidad at kagamitan sa paggampan nila sa kanilang tungkulin.

That is why this committee is keen and persistent in creating and converting these offices. However, these offices must not forget that with greater power is greater accountability. Through this hearing, we will make sure that the creation or conversion of these offices is not pursued for any political or economic gain, but purely in service of our countrymen. Serve the people properly and efficiently.

For the franchise bills, we never fail to say that the grant of a franchise is not a right, but a privilege which carries immense responsibility. Maaari itong tanggalin, bawiin, o baguhin ng estado sa oras na hindi ninyo magampanan ang inyong pangunahing layuning pagsilbihan ang publiko. You ought to continuously improve, upgrade and expand to the satisfaction of the public. Thus, Congress has the responsibility to ensure that only the most qualified and responsible be granted this privilege.

To new franchise applicants, you need to establish that there is a public need for the service that you are going to provide. Consider this as your job interview. What are your services? What services will you provide? Do you have the resources and experience to provide these services? Prove your competence and capacity to this committee.

For those who are seeking a renewal of their franchise, you need to convince this committee that your performance was satisfactory. Bago isulong ng komite ang inyong prangkisa sa plenaryo, kailangang masiguro naming ginawa ninyo ang inyong responsibilidad. We have invited government regulators to assist us in determining whether you have faithfully complied with all the duties and deliverables attached as conditions for the enjoyment of your existing franchises. As I always say, "Serbisyo muna bago prangkisa." We also invited stakeholders to air their views about these franchises.

While we welcome new players, we want to make sure that all applicants are fit to offer their avowed public service so as to encourage competition, drive companies to provide better service, and meet end-user expectations.

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