Malacañang on Thursday hailed the entry of a third telecommunications player in the country, Mislatel Consortium, describing it as a development brought about by President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s “strong political will.”
Mislatel Consortium is a joint venture led by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy and state-owned China Telecom Corp. Ltd.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Filipinos have long waited for a “reliable, efficient, and inexpensive” telecommunications service.
“We welcome the entry of a third telecommunications player in the country as a positive development. The President’s strong political will has laid the foundation for its realization,” Panelo said.
“The entry of the third player is another shining example of the brand of governance that the President has trail-blazed for emulation,” he added.
Panelo said a new major player will break the existing duopoly and create the climate of good and efficient services for Filipinos by promoting genuine competition.
He said the President gave a timeline for a third player to come in not later than November of this year.
Earlier, Duterte signed Administrative Order 11 creating an oversight committee with representatives from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Department of Finance (DOF) as chairperson and vice-chairperson, respectively.
Upon Duterte’s instruction the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), an attached agency of the DICT, opened the bidding and Mislatel Consortium passed NTC’s preliminary selection process and won over two other bidders.
Panelo defended the selection of the Uy-led telco after critics pointed out Duterte’s closeness with the businessman, who reportedly contributed to his 2016 presidential campaign.
He stressed that there was a “transparent, fair, public and open selection process”, done in accordance with laws during the selection process.
Panelo added that while Duterte sets policies as the country’s Chief Executive, he does not micro-manage the given assignments of his alter egos.
“He does not interfere with the work of his Cabinet members and top officials as long as they properly execute their mandates in accordance with the law and the promises he made to the people,” Panelo said.
In a Palace briefing, Panelo said other bidders lack certain requirements which is why Uy’s telco won over them.
Mislatel was the remaining bidder after two other bidders, Sear Telecom Consortium of Tier One Communications and LCS Group of Companies were disqualified for failing to submit the required PHP700 million performance security to qualify as a third telco player.
“There are legal requirements for the entry of a third player. In the preliminary screening, that corporation or the person you mentioned, Dennis Uy, passed it,” Panelo said.
Panelo, however, said bidders who are not satisfied with the decision may still file an appeal.
He described as “baseless” assumptions that Uy’s telco won the bid because of his friendship with the President.
“I think it’s a baseless assumption because given the character of the President. It’s farfetched as we all know relationship, alliances, friendship do not matter with this President,” Panelo said.
“I know both are from Davao, but I do not know if they are close friends or not. The President’s policy is not to interfere with his departments, so the President doesn’t have anything to do with bidding, with negotiations or contracts,” he added. (PNA)