FACT CHECK: ‘Charity’ vlogger’s FB video on Starlink, Duterte admin lacks context

Jun. 06, 2022

CLAIM: FB page Balitam Pinas with over 204,000 followers and almost 43,000 likes as of this writing, posted a video on Sunday, June 5 with the caption, “HETO Na!! BBM Maswerte sa BALITANG Ito!” which has since generated 6.9K views, 672 reactions, and 34 comments.

The page (@TEAMBPCHARITYVLOGS) was created on January 12, 2019. In one of the recent posts, the admin, Jay B., declared he’s a BBM (Bongbong Marcos) Vlogger who wants to help those in the “laylayan ng lipunan’ (marginalized) by asking for donations though his Gcash account.

His video gives information about Starlink’s entry into the Philippines using the sources from National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), Department of Trade and Industry, and Elon Musk’s Twitter post.

In the video’s layout, the upper part reads, “Elon Musk at Starlink Bagong Internet Provider sa Bansa…” (Elon Musk and Starlink, the country’s new internet provider), while the bottom part reads “Regalo ni PDu30 bago ang kanyang huling araw sa palasyo.” (Pres. Duterte’s present before his term ends).

RATING: Lacks context


In May 26, the NTC granted the certificate of registration to Starlink Internet Services Philippines Inc., (SISPI) a subsidiary of the Starlink satellite internet service, as a value added service provider.

Starlink is engineered by Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX), a spacecraft engineering company owned by tech billionaire Elon Musk.

The license will provide access to satellite systems, and establish and operate broadband facilities. It is expected that the company shall provide high-speed, low latency satellite internet service with download speeds between 100 Mbps to 200 Mbps.

The Philippines will be the first country in Southeast Asia to offer Starlink but there are no details yet on when it would be commercially available. The Department of Trade and Industry said that SpaceX targets to deploy a Starlink gateway in June 2022. However, its official website confirmed that it will arrive within the last quarter this year.

Starlink works by sending data via radio signals sent through space compared to other internet service providers that use cables or optical fibers. This is made possible by the network (or “constellation”) of satellites that SpaceX has developed and launched into low Earth orbit. Since it does not need to install wires for connectivity, it can potentially bring high-speed internet to poorly connected, “unreachable” areas.

Satellites far from Earth experience much higher latency, which is the time it takes to send data from one point to the next. Because Starlink satellites are launched in low orbit, they are 60 times closer to Earth, creating a high-speed, low-latency experience.

Full foreign ownership

Republic Act No. 11659, which President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed last March, amended the 85-year-old Commonwealth Act No. 146 or the Public Service Act (PSA). It eases the restrictions on full foreign ownership by removing the 40% foreign investment cap on certain public utilities including telecommunications, railways, shipping, airlines, and subways.

The Makabayan bloc of the House of Representatives expressed their opposition to the law as manifested in the Article 12 of the Philippine Constitution that ownership of public utilities should be in the effective control of Filipinos and the passage of the law is tantamount to full foreign ownership of media entities, railways, and transport and telecommunication systems.

The NTC said that the amended PSA led to the formation of SISPI. Space X’s counsel, lawyer Bien Marquez, said the NTC issued the license 30 minutes after the application was submitted with complete requirements.

The company’s certificate of registration is valid until April 14, 2023 but may be extended, amended, revoked, or cancelled at any time in accordance with NTC’s rules and regulations.

Davao Today is part of #FactsFirstPH which brings together various sectors that are committed to promoting truth in the public space, and exacting accountability on those who harm it with lies. For those interested to join the initiative, email info@factsfirst.ph.

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