Japan urges PH to speed up digital TV review

Posted at 11/23/12 10:22 AM

MANILA - Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe urged the Philippine government Thursday to fast-track its review of the adoption of the Japanese digital TV standard, replacing the analog system in the Philippines.

Urabe pointed out the initial decision to use the Japanese terrestrial digital system was made during the previous administration and the delay in its final adoption is entailing "lost economic opportunity" for those in the industry.

"After the new administration came (in 2010), they were reviewing all the projects. Ever since, it has been under review. I'm quite confident that in the near future, the government will make a decision to adopt it," Urabe said.

The Philippine government set a goal to replace its analogue system with digital broadcast technology by 2015 and studied Japan's Integrated Service Digital Broadcasting - Terrestrial, and Europe's Digital Video Broadcasting - Terrestrial 2.

The National Telecommunications Commission eventually recommended the Japanese system, which awaits final approval from President Benigno Aquino.

Aquino spokesman Edwin Lacierda said in an interview Thursday "some concerns" are still being studied, but he assured there will be a decision before 2015.

Urabe said the Japanese system suits the Philippines best, being an island country and disaster-prone like Japan, since its one-antenna system can even apply to mobile phones.

"What happened at the great eastern Japan earthquake, when people were hit by the earthquake, they were travelling on those trains. And someone got a message (on a mobile phone) that tsunami is coming. So, everyone said, 'Let's get off the train, and they went to a higher place. After that, the tsunami came and the train was destroyed," he said.

Noting the approval of the system by the country's association of broadcasting companies, Urabe said an earlier adoption will eventually usher in "new programs, which will mean more employment, more income, and more tax revenues."

"While people are waiting, a lot of people are already preparing, investing in equipment, and hiring people. And that means cost. So, I think, the earlier, the better," he said.