RA 10928, RA 10929, RA 10930: Part of Duterte’s legacy

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The establishment of a 10-year passport and a 5-year driver’s license validity was one of the most notable legacies of the government of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

On August 2, 2017, former President Duterte signed two laws: Republic Act No. 10928 and Republic Act No. 10930. Republic Act No. 10928 aims to extend the validity of Philippine passports by revising Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8239, generally referred to as the “Philippine Passport Act of 1996,” and for other purposes. Under RA 10928, passports for those 18 and older would be valid for ten years, while those for those under 18 would be valid for five years. The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will put out the necessary rules and regulations and adopt best practices to make sure that the Act’s provisions are carried out in a way that is consistent with the needed reforms to make the passport processing system smooth, easy, and suitable for the people and to bring passport production and security up to date with technological changes and international standards. This is to ensure that the rules of this Act are carried out along with any needed changes. In addition, this Act says that the DFA must follow industry standards to ensure that it keeps its pledge.

In a press release dated May 14, 2017, Senator Cynthia Villar claimed that the proposal that would raise the number of years a passport is valid from five to ten would greatly assist migrant workers. Other countries, such as the United States of America, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand, likewise adhere to a 10-year validity period. Before the signing and implementation of Republic Act 10928, Philippine passports had a five-year validity span. The principal writers of the law were senators Sonny Angara, Joel Villanueva, Grace Poe, Richard Gordon, Cynthia Villar, JV Ejercito, Loren Legarda, and Alan Peter Cayetano, as well as Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto.

Alternatively, Republic Act No. 10930 rationalizes and reinforces the policy of driver’s licenses. This legislation was signed by former President Duterte on August 2, 2017. It justifies and strengthens the approach to driver’s licenses by extending the validity period and making it unlawful to act against their issue or usage. To achieve this, the bill alters Section 23 of Republic Act No. 4136, often known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, and Executive Order No. 1011.

The validity length of a new driver’s license has been expanded from three years to five years due to Republic Act 10930. To meet the student’s permit, an exception was given. In contrast, commencing October 28, 2021, drivers who renewed their licenses at the Quezon City Licensing Center (QCLC) and Land Transportation’s Central Office Licensing could acquire 10-year valid licenses if they match specific criteria. This modification applies to drivers who renewed their licenses at either location. In compliance with Republic Act No. 10930, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Metro Manila began issuing brand-new 10-year driver’s licenses in November 2021. The LTO states that a driver’s license will be valid for five years if they have a history of traffic offenses.

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) has suggested that implementing the new rule requiring license renewal drivers to complete a comprehensive driver’s education course will not incur additional expenditures or cause further inconveniences. Before a driver’s license can be renewed, a comprehensive driving education program must be completed (CDE). To maintain everyone’s safety on the road, the CDE offers a variety of driver retraining programs. The LTO is on pace to implement the new license nationwide as scheduled. Statute 10930 mandated that all drivers undergo additional instruction on traffic regulations and safe driving skills to decrease fatal car accidents. Customers must register for the free Land Transportation Management System using a smartphone or other internet-capable device or at an LTO office in person.

The previous president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, signed into law on August 2, 2017, Republic Act No. 10929, popularly known as the act that enables free internet connection in various public locations.

A slow internet connection and internet speed are one of the daily challenges Filipinos confront. Since the beginning of the epidemic, everything has changed and transferred into the digital sphere, including internet-based work from home, online shopping, and online education. Almost everything was accomplished online. This has significantly aggravated the problem. The Philippines has one of the most expensive and slowest internet connections.

Regarding affordable internet access, the Philippines ranks 82nd out of 85 countries on the Digital Quality of Life Index for 2020. The Philippines’ mobile broadband internet has a download speed of 33.69 megabits per second (Mbps), an upload speed of 8.83 Mbps, and a latency of 31 milliseconds, according to a series of tests done by Ookla in July 2021. In July 2020, the Philippines were placed 114th, 42 places better than in July of the previous year. This is because the conclusions of the prior year were generated using data from the last year. Moreover, our ranking increased in June 2021, when we went from 75th to 72nd place. The average upload speed for mobile broadband internet worldwide is 12.35 Mbps, while the average download speed is 55.07 Mbps. The average delay for mobile broadband internet around the world is 37 milliseconds. Despite these advancements, the nation is still not where it needs to be, and internet speed continues to be a source of national dissatisfaction. Therefore, the free internet program is helpful since it is accessible in many public sites, including government offices, public institutions, hospitals, public airports, and transportation hubs.

As part of the Free Wi-Fi for All Program, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) planned to install over 12,000 Internet sites in public educational institutions around the nation. These sites were to be installed in 10,300 public schools, 1,804 state universities and colleges (SUCs), and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority facilities (TESDA). To fund the implementation of the Free Wi-Fi for All in Public Places and SUCs Program, the Department of Information and Communications Technology has earmarked $7.7 billion, or approximately $155 million, in its fiscal year 2021 budget estimates. According to Gringo Honingsan II, Secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology, as of September 2021, 10,996 sites had been deployed around the nation.

The province of Dinagat Islands, severely affected by the super typhoon Odette in December 2021, is one of the locations that benefited from the free wifi initiative and was also one of the participating provinces. In addition to losing their homes and public facilities, Dinagatnons must contend with disruptions to their service providers and internet connections. Their internet connection has always been problematic, but it has become much worse since Odette’s arrival. The Dinagat Municipal Gym provides users complimentary internet access, a lucky amenity. Daily, individuals would assemble in the area to take advantage of the free internet service. In particular, students would cluster at night to complete the modules they brought.

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