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We can keep our mobile numbers for life; Duterte signs 19 other laws

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By Genalyn Kabilng

President Duterte has signed 20 new laws, including measures creating the Department of Human Settlements, establishing a national cancer control program, and allowing subscribers to keep their mobile numbers for life.

President Rodrigo Duterte leads the groundbreaking ceremony of the new site of the San Lorenzo Ruiz General Hospital (SLRGH) at Brgy Panghulo in Malabon City on Jan. 29, 2019. (RTVM / SCREENSHOT / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Rodrigo Duterte leads the groundbreaking ceremony of the new site of the San Lorenzo Ruiz General Hospital (SLRGH) at Brgy Panghulo in Malabon City on Jan. 29, 2019. (RTVM / SCREENSHOT / MANILA BULLETIN)

The new laws that also include franchises granted to some broadcasting, telecommunication, and power entities were released by Malacañang Tuesday days after the President signed them.

Republic Act No. 11201, an act creating the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, aims to ensure the underprivileged and homeless people have access to safe and affordable home.

The new department, which consolidates the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, will serve as the “primary national government entity responsible for the management of housing, human settlement and urban development.” It will also be the sole and main planning and policy-making, regulatory, program coordination and performance monitoring entity for all housing concerns.

Republic Act No. 11215, the National Integrated Cancer Control Act, was also signed by the President last February 14.

Under the law, the government aims to scale up programs and increase investments for the prevention of cancer, timely and optimal treatment, response care and pain management, and effective survivorship care.

It also creates a National Integrated Cancer Control Council that will serve as policy-making, planning and coordinating body on cancer control. It will be led by the Secretary of Health.

A Philippine Cancer Center, under the control and supervision of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), will also be established for the treatment and accommodation of cancer patients. The law also calls for the establishment of the Cancer Assistance Fund to support the cancer medicine and treatment assistance program.

Republic Act No. 11202, signed by the President last February 8, allows consumers to keep their mobile phone numbers for life. The new law requires mobile service provides to provide nationwide mobile number portability to subscribers.

The Mobile Number Portability Act aims “to promote consumer welfare as it fosters the freedom to choose and to respond to quality, price, and other relevant considerations without the consumers having to change their mobile numbers whenever they change mobile service providers or subscription plan.”

“Finally, the cellphone numbers we currently have can become ours for a lifetime,” Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said.

“Dahil naisabatas na ang Mobile Number Portability Act, hindi na kailangang magpalit pa ng cellphone o mobile number kapag lumipat tayo ng network o kaya kapag lumipat tayo mula prepaid papuntang postpaid at postpaid papuntang prepaid (Now that the Mobile Number Portability Act is a law, there’s no more need to change cellphone numbers even if you switch networks or shift from prepaid to postpaid or vice versa),” he pointed out.

Gatchalian said the signing of the Mobile Number Portability Act before the start of operations of the third telecommunication company will spur competition and efficiency between telcos and break the duopoly in the telecom industry by removing a potential barrier for subscribers not to patronize the new entrant because they cannot keep the same mobile number.

Other laws signed by the President are:

  • Republic Act No. 11188 or an act providing for the special protection of children in situations of armed conflict;
  • Republic Act No. 11206 or an act establishing a career guidance and counselling program for all secondary schools;
  • Republic Act No. 11214 or an act establishing a sports complex known as the Philippine Sports Training Center.
  • Republic Act No. 11218 or an act recognizing the British School of Manila as an international education institution;
  • Republic Act No. 11189 or an act increasing the bed capacity of St. Anthony Mother and Child Hospital in Cebu City from 25 to 200 beds;
  • Republic Act No. 11208 or act increasing the bed capacity of Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City from 300 to 500 beds;
  • Republic Act No. 11219 or an act extending for another 25 years the franchise granted to the Iglesia Ni Cristo  to operate private telecommunication service in the country;
  • Republic Act No. 11212 or an act granting More Electric and Power Corporation a franchise to establish, operate and maintain a distribution system for the conveyance of electric power in Iloilo City;
  • Republic Act No.  11193 or an act granting the Malindang Broadcasting Network Corporation a franchise to operate radio and television stations in Mindanao;
  • Republic Act No. 11204 or an act extending for another 25 years the franchise granted to Ermita Electronics Incorporated to operate radio communications systems in the county;
  • Republic Act No. 11185 or an act integrating the Cebu City Mountain Extension campus as a satellite campus of the Cebu Technological University;
  • Republic Act No. 11186 or an act converting the Northwest Mindanao State College fo Science and Technology in Tagub, Misamis Occidental into a state university to be known as the University of Northwestern Mindanao;
  • Republic Act No. 11187 or an act converting the Zamboanga City State Polytechnic College into the Zamboanga Polytechnic State University;
  • Republic Act No. 11192 or an act establishing the Cordillera State Institute of Technical Education;
  • Republic Act No. 11209 or an act changing the name of Lupon School of Fisheries in Lupon, Davao Oriental into the Davao Oriental Polytechnic Institute;
  • Republic Act No. 11216 or act declaring September 3 of every year a special working holiday throughout the country to commemorate the surrender of Japanese imperial forces led by Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita;

Republic Act No. 11217 or an act declaring January 17 of every year as James Leonard Tagle Gordon Day a special nonworking holiday in Olongapo City and Subic Bay freeport zone.

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