Duterte OKs Smart franchise renewal

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 03 2017 06:57 PM | Updated as of May 03 2017 07:44 PM

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a measure extending the franchise granted to Smart Communications to 25 years.

Duterte signed Republic Act 10926 on April 21, according to a copy of the affirmed measure released to Palace reporters on Wednesday.

“The grantee (Smart) is hereby granted the right to construct, establish, install, maintain, lease, purchase and operate the corresponding transmitting and receiving stations, satellites, lines, systems, networks, international gateways, local exchanges, and platforms as it may consider necessary, convenient and reasonable,” the law reads.

Smart’s previous franchise was given on March 27, 1992 under the Corazon Aquino administration through RA 7294.

The 1987 Constitution requires public utility firms to acquire a franchise from Congress to operate, as these use state owned frequencies.

Under RA 10926, Smart is required to “improve and extend its services in areas not yet served, and in hazard- and typhoon-prone areas that shall be determined by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.”

Smart is also required to improve its facilities to ensure effective compliance with the Free Mobile Disaster Alert Act, under which telecommunications firms are mandated to send free alerts to its subscribers in times of calamities.