Friday, May 31, 2024

Duterte: I will open PH to foreign telcos to speed up Internet

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte said he will open the information and communications technology (ICT) industry to new players to promote competitiveness and accelerate the speed of Internet connection in the country.

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte disclosed this during his arrival at the Davao International Airport (DIA) on Thursday, Nov. 24, from his participation in the Asia Pacific-Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Meeting in Lima, Peru.

He said plans are being finalized, including a review of the regulatory requirements and institutional arrangements, to hasten the entry of new competitors to invest in the Philippines in the ICT and energy sectors.

“The only way to make this country faster to benefit the poor is really to open up communications, the airwaves, and the entire energy sector,” he said.

Unless something is done by the local telecommunication firms, he said: “My decision now is, this moment is, bubuksan ko ang Pilipinas (I will open the Philippines),” he added.

However, he assured multinational businesses and local capitalists that the move is not meant to “destroy” them.

“You will have the advantage. You are here already. Be content with that. Okay na ?yan para sa inyo (That?s fine for you). But let us open everything para matapos na itong kalbaryo ng Pilipino (in order to end the miseries of the Filipinos),” he said.

In an interview after the Duterte?s arrival speech, Department of Finance secretary Carlos Dominguez said the allowing the entry of new players would benefit the public.

“Our Internet connection speed is among the lowest in the world so he wants to encourage competition to increase efficiency and to lower the cost,? he told reporters.

But Dominguez underscored the need to amend economic policies. “First of all, in May, we will be reviewing all areas of economic policies that limit competition. We will be expanding those and those that require constitutional change, we will do it,” he said.

Internet Society ? Philippines, a local advocacy group, said it supports the government?s plan, noting that the Philippines has been falling behind for over a decade.

?We look forward to the President’s decisive moves to fast-track regulatory and legislative initiatives to foster competition,? the group said in a statement.

?Telco promos and promises do not constitute ?improvement?, ordinary Filipino people know this and are painfully aware of continuing poor and expensive Internet service from the dominant duopoly,? it added.

Duterte said foreign players in the ICT and energy industries are interested to come in, particularly those from China, he said.

“Iyang cellphone na ?yan (That cellular phone), I do not want to have a quarrel with the Ayalas and Pangilinan.”

He assured the same protection will be given to all. “Now, kung i-dive ninyo ?yang presyo ninyo, walang problema (if you drop all your charges, there?s no problem). I will forget my statement.”

Duterte said having vibrant telecommunication and power industries will enable the country to participate in the global market with a competitive edge. — PNA


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