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http://lawyerly.ph/laws/view/l112a4
[REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10900, (2016-07-21)](http://lawyerly.ph/laws/view/l112a4)
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[ REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10900, July 21, 2016 ]

AN ACT EXTENDING FOR ANOTHER TWENTY-FIVE (25) YEARS THE FRANCHISE GRANTED TO BELL TELECOMMUNICATION PHILIPPINES. INC., AMENDING FOR THE PURPOSE REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7692, ENTITLED "AN ACT GRANTING TO BELL TELECOMMUNICATION PHILIPPINES, INC., A FRANCHISE TO INSTALL, OPERATE AND MAINTAIN TELECOMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS THROUGHOUT THE PHILIPPINES AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES"



Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress assembled:

SECTION 1. The franchise of Bell Telecommunication Philippines, Inc. granted under Republic Act No. 7692 is hereby amended to read as follows:
"SECTION 1. Nature and Scope of Franchise. – Subject to the provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and applicable laws, rules and regulations on public telecommunications, Bell Telecommunication Philippines, Inc., hereunder referred to as the grantee, its successors or assignees, is hereby granted the right, privilege and authority to carry on the business of providing telecommunications services in and between provinces, cities and municipalities in the Philippines and between the Philippines and other countries and territories and, for this purpose, to establish, operate, manage, lease, maintain and purchase telecommunications systems, including mobile, cellular and wired or wireless telecommunications systems, fiber optics, satellite transmit and receive systems, and other telecommunications systems and their value-added services such as transmission of voice, data, facsimile, control signals, audio and video, information service bureau, and all other telecommunications systems technologies as are at present available or be made available through technical advances or innovations in the future, or construct, acquire, lease, and operate or manage transmitting and receiving stations and switching stations, both for local and international services, lines, cables or systems, as is, or are, convenient or essential to efficiently carry out the purposes of this franchise."

"SEC. 2. Manner of Operation of Stations or Facilities. – The stations or facilities of the grantee shall be constructed and operated in a manner as will, at most, result only in the minimum interference on the wavelengths or frequencies of existing stations or other stations which may be established by law, without in any way diminishing its own right to use its assigned wavelengths or frequencies and the quality of transmission or reception thereon as should maximize rendition of the grantee's services and/or the availability thereof"

"SEC. 3. Authority of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). – The grantee shall secure from the NTC a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity or the appropriate permits and licenses for the construction, installation and operation of its telecommunications systems/facilities. In issuing the certificate, the NTC shall have the power to impose such conditions relative to the construction, operation, maintenance, or service level of the telecommunications system.  The NTC shall have the authority to regulate the construction and operation of its telecommunications systems. The grantee shall not use any frequency in the radio spectrum without authorization from the NTC. Such certificate shall state the areas covered and the date the grantee shall commence the service. The NTC, however, shall not unreasonably withhold or delay the grant of such authority, permit or license."

"SEC. 4. Excavation and Restoration Works. – For the purpose of erecting and maintaining poles or other supports for said wires or other conductors for the purpose of laying and maintaining underground wires, cables or other conductors, it shall be lawful for the grantee, its successors or assignees, with the prior approval of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) or the local government unit (LGU) concerned, as may be appropriate, to make excavations or lay conduits in any of the public places, roads, highways, streets, lanes, alleys, avenues, sidewalks, or bridges of the province, cities, and/or municipalities: Provided, however, That a public place, road, highway, street, lane, alley, avenue, sidewalk, or bridge disturbed, altered or changed by reason of erection of poles or other supports or the underground laying of wires, other conductors or conduits, shall be repaired and replaced in workmanlike manner by said grantee, its successors or assignees, in accordance with the standards set by the DPWH or the LGU concerned. Should the grantee, its successors or assignees, after the ten (10)-day notice from the said authority, fail, refuse or neglect to repair or replace any part of public place, road, highway, street, lane, alley, avenue, sidewalk, or bridge altered, changed or disturbed by the said grantee, its successors or assignees, then the DPWH or the LGU concerned shall have the right to have the same repaired and placed in good order and condition at double expense to be charged against the grantee, its successors or assignees."

"SEC. 5. Responsibility to the Public. – The grantee shall conform to the ethics of honest enterprise and not use its stations/facilities for obscene or indecent transmission, or for dissemination of deliberately false information, or willful misrepresentation, or assist in subversive or treasonable acts.

"The grantee shall provide basic or enhanced telephone service in any city and/or municipality in the Philippines where it has an approved Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for the establishment, operation and maintenance of a local exchange service, without discrimination to any applicant therefor, in the order of the date of their applications, up to the limit of the capacity of its local telephone exchange and, should the demand for the telephone service at any time increase beyond the capacity thereof the grantee shall increase the same to meet the demand: Provided, That in case the total demand to be satisfied by the expansion is less than the smallest viable local exchange available in the market as determined by the NTC, the grantee shall not be obliged to furnish such service unless the applicant for telephone service defrays the actual expenses for the installation of the telecommunications apparatus necessary for the services and in such case, the NTC may extend the time within which the grantee shall furnish the service.

"The grantee shall operate and maintain all its stations, lines, cables, systems, and equipment for the transmission and reception of messages, signals, and pulses in a satisfactory manner at all times, and as far as economical and practicable, modify, improve, or change such stations, lines, cables, systems, and equipment to keep abreast with the advances in science and technology."

"SEC. 6. Rates for Services. – The charges and rates for telecommunications services of the grantee, except the rates and charges on those that may hereafter be declared or considered as nonregulated services, whether flat rates or measured rates or variation thereof, shall be subject to the approval of the NTC or its legal successor. The rates to be charged by the grantee shall be unbundled, separable and distinct among the services offered and shall be determined in a manner that regulated services do not subsidize the unregulated ones."

"SEC. 7. Right of Government. – A special right is hereby reserved to the President of the Philippines, in times of war, rebellion, public peril, calamity, emergency, disaster or disturbance of peace and order; to temporarily take over and operate the stations, transmitters, facilities, or equipment of the grantee; to temporarily suspend the operation of any station, transmitter, facility, or equipment in the interest of public safety, security, and public welfare; or to authorize the temporary use and operation thereof by any agency of the government, upon due compensation to the grantee, for the use of said stations, transmitters, facilities, or equipment during the period when these shall be so operated.

"The radio spectrum is a finite resource that is part of the national patrimony and the use thereof is a privilege conferred upon the grantee by the State, and may be withdrawn anytime after due process."

"SEC. 8. Term of Franchise. – This franchise shall be in effect for a period of twenty-five (25) years from the date of the effectivity of this Act, unless sooner cancelled.  This franchise shall be deemed ipso facto revoked in the event the grantee fails to operate continuously for two (2) years."

"SEC. 9. Tax Provisions. –The grantee shall be liable to pay the same taxes on its real estate, buildings and personal property exclusive of this franchise, except on its antennas, radios, base transceiver stations, telecommunications and electronic communications equipment, machineries and spare parts needed in connection with the business from the grantee, as well as the self-supporting, monopole and/or guyed towers, and other similar structures and facilities on which said antennas, radios, telecommunications and electronic communications equipment, machineries and spare parts are installed, which shall be exempt from real property taxes, customs duties, tariffs, and other taxes and fees. In addition thereto, the grantee shall pay value-added tax on all gross receipts of the business transacted under this franchise in the Philippines, in lieu of any and all taxes of any kind, nature or description, including, but not limited to, local business taxes, local franchise taxes, tower fees, supervision fees, local communication taxes levied, established or collected, or may be levied, established or collected, by any city, municipality, provincial or national authority, from which the grantee is hereby expressly exempted effective from the date of approval of this Act: Provided, That the grantee shall continue to be liable for income taxes payable under Title II of the National Internal Revenue Code pursuant to Section 2 of Executive Order No. 72 unless the latter enactment is amended or repealed, in which case the amendment or repeal shall be applicable thereon."

"SEC. 10. Acceptance and Compliance. – Acceptance of this franchise shall be given in writing to the Congress of the Philippines, through the Committee on Legislative Franchises of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Public Services of the Senate, within sixty (60) days from the effectivity of this Act. Upon giving such acceptance, the grantee shall exercise the privileges granted under this Act. Nonacceptance shall render the franchise void. As a guaranty that it has accepted this franchise in good faith, the grantee shall, within thirty (30) days, deposit with the National Treasury the sum of one hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) in cash or negotiable instruments of the Philippine Government and file a bond in the amount of one million pesos (P1,000,000.00).

"Should the grantee fail, refuse or neglect to begin the business of providing a telephone service within two (2) years of the grant of the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity and for any reason other than an act of God, act of the public enemy, military power, martial law, riot, civil commotion, or unavoidable cause, then the deposit prescribed under this section shall be forfeited in favor of the National Government as liquidated damages. Should the grantee perform on time the undertaking for which the deposit is required, then the deposit shall be returned to the grantee and its bond cancelled within six (6) months of commencement of service.

"SEC. 11. Right of Interconnection. – The grantee is hereby authorized to connect or demand connection of its telecommunications systems to other telecommunications systems installed, operated, and maintained by any other duly authorized person or entity in the Philippines for the purpose of providing extended and improved telecommunications services to the public, under the terms and conditions mutually agreed upon by the parties concerned; this right shall be subject to the review and modification of the NTC."

"SEC. 12. Gross Receipts. – The grantee, its successors or assignees, shall keep a separate account of the gross receipts of the business transacted by it and shall furnish the Commission on Audit (COA) and the National Treasury a copy of such account not later than the thirty-first (31st) day of January of each year for the preceding twelve (12) months."

"SEC. 13. Books and Accounts. – The books and accounts of the grantee, its successors or assignees, shall always be open to the inspection of the COA and its duly authorized representatives. It shall be the duty of the grantee to submit to the COA two (2) copies of the quarterly reports on the gross receipts, the net profits and the general condition of the business."

"SEC. 14. Warranty in Favor of the National and Local Governments. – The grantee shall hold the national, provincial, city, and municipal governments of the Philippines free from all claims, accounts, demands, or actions arising out of accidents or injuries, whether to property or to persons, caused by the construction or operation of the stations, transmitters, facilities, or equipment of the grantee."

"SEC. 15. Sale, Lease, Transfer, Usufruct, or Assignment of Franchise. – The grantee shall not lease, transfer, grant the usufruct of, sell nor assign this franchise or the rights and privileges acquired thereunder to any person, firm, company, corporation or entity, nor merge with any other corporation or entity without the prior approval of the Congress of the Philippines.  Neither shall the controlling interest of the grantee be transferred, whether as a whole or in parts and whether simultaneously or contemporaneously, to any such person, firm, company, corporation or entity without the prior approval of the Congress of the Philippines;  Provided, That the foregoing limitations shall not apply to: (a) any transfer or issuance of shares of stock in the implementation of the requirement for the dispersal of the grantee's ownership pursuant to Section 16 of this Act; (b) any transfer or sale of shares of stock to a foreign investor or investors; (c) any issuance of shares to any foreign or local investors pursuant to or in connection with any increase in the grantee's authorized capital stock which shall result in the dilution of the stockholdings of the grantee's then existing stockholders; (d) any combination thereof where such transfer, sale or issuance is effected in order to enable the grantee to raise the necessary capital or financing for the provision of any of the services authorized by this Act and/or to carry out any of the purposes for which the grantee has been incorporated or organized; Provided, further, That any such transfer, sale or issuance is in accordance with any applicable constitutional limitations. Any person or entity to which this franchise is validly sold, transferred or assigned shall be subject to all the same conditions, terms, restrictions, and limitations of this Act: Provided, furthermore, That Congress shall be informed of any sale, lease, transfer, grant of usufruct, or assignment of franchise or the rights and privileges acquired thereunder, or of the merger, or transfer of controlling interest of the grantee, within sixty (60) days after the completion of said transaction: Provided, moreover, That failure to report to Congress such change of ownership shall render the franchise ipso facto revoked: Provided, finally, That any person or entity to which this franchise is sold, transferred, or assigned, shall be subject to the same conditions, terms, restrictions, and limitations of this Act."

"SEC. 16. Dispersal of Ownership. – In accordance with the constitutional provision to encourage public participation in public utilities, the grantee shall offer to Filipino citizens at least thirty percent (30%) or a higher percentage that may hereafter be provided by law of its outstanding capital stock in any securities exchange in the Philippines within five (5) years from the commencement of its operations."

"SEC. 17. Reportorial Requirement. – The grantee shall submit an annual report to the Congress of the Philippines, through the Committee on Legislative Franchises of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Public Services of the Senate, on its compliance with the terms and conditions of the franchise and on its operations on or before April 30 of every year during the term of its franchise. The reportorial compliance certificate issued by Congress shall be required before any application for permit or certificate is accepted by the NTC."

"SEC. 18. Penalty Clause. – Failure of the grantee to submit the requisite annual report to Congress shall be penalized with a fine in the amount of five hundred pesos (P500.00) per working day of noncompliance.  The fine shall be collected by the NTC from the delinquent franchise grantee separate from the reportorial penalties imposed by the NTC."

"SEC. 19. Equality Clause. – Any advantage, favor, privilege, exemption, or immunity granted under other existing franchises, or which may hereafter be granted, upon prior review and approval of Congress, shall become part of this franchise and shall be accorded immediately and unconditionally to the herein grantee: Provided, That the foregoing shall neither apply to nor affect provisions of telecommunications franchises concerning territory covered by the franchise, the life span of the franchise or the type of service authorized by the franchise."

"SEC. 20. Separability Clause. – If any of the sections or provisions of this Act is held invalid, all other provisions not affected thereby shall remain valid."

"SEC. 21. Repealability and Nonexclusivity Clause. – This franchise shall be subject to amendment, alteration, or repeal by the Congress of the Philippines when the public interest so requires and shall not be interpreted as an exclusive grant of the privilege herein provided for."
SEC. 2. Repealing Clause. – All laws, decrees, orders, resolutions, instructions and rules and regulations or parts thereof which are inconsistent with this Act are hereby deemed repealed or modified accordingly.

SEC. 3. Effectivity. – This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.

Approved,

(Sgd.) FRANKLIN M. DRILON
President of the Senate
(Sgd.) FELICIANO BELMONTE JR.
Speaker of the House
of Representatives

Representatives on September 21, 2015, amended by the Senate on January 18, 2016, and which amendments were concurred in by the House of Representatives on May 23, 2016.

(Sgd.) OSCAR G. YABES
Secretary of the Senate
(Sgd.) MARILYN B. BARUA-YAP
Secretary General
House of Representatives

Approved:

BENIGNO S. AQUINO III
President of the Philippines

Lapsed into law on JUL 21 2016
Without the signature of the President
In accordance with Article VI, Section
27 (1) of the Constitution

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