The country’s two major telecommunication companies (telcos) on Monday got President Rodrigo Duterte’s warning to improve their services by December or risk getting shut down.
In his fifth state of the nation address (SONA) Monday, Duterte said he would take “drastic steps” against Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications Inc., the wireless arm of PLDT Inc., if they do not improve by yearend.
“I call on our communication companies to improve their services lest we are forced to take drastic steps to address the less than ideal services that the public is getting from you,” he said.
He told the telcos not to make the public wait for “10 years” to experience the kind of service being enjoyed by other countries.
“If you are not ready to improve, I might just as well close all of you and we revert back to the line telephone. At kukunin ko ‘yan i-expropriate ko sa gobyerno (And I will get that, I will expropriate it),” he said.
Duterte claimed he would “articulate the anger of the Filipino people” for their lousy services.
“Tell us now if you cannot really improve on it because I will work by December. I have two years. The next two years will be spent improving the telecommunications of this country without you. I will find a way. I will talk to Congress and find a way how to do it,” he said.
Previously, Duterte hit the telco duopoly, which paved the way for the entry of a third telco player.
On July 8, 2019, Duterte awarded Mislatel Consortium, now Dito Telecommunity, the permit to operate as the Philippines’ third telco provider.
The corporation is a consortium led by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy and composed of Uy’s Udenna Corporation, its subsidiary Chelsea Logistics, and China Telecommunications Corporation
In his fourth SONA, he vowed that the entry of the Dito Telecommunity is corruption-free.
Meanwhile, he also urged authorities to protect Filipinos’ data and privacy online and run after online scammers.
“We must continue to protect Filipinos in the new normal and remind the world that we are responsible stewards of data. I am committed to protect both the physical and digital lives of our law-abiding countrymen,” he said.
Amid the prevailing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, he urged government agencies to prioritize “paperless” transactions. (Azer Parrocha/PNA)