One memorable point in President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) last year was his ultimatum to telecommunications companies to improve services or he will do it “without you.”
His call was timely, as it still is, as most Filipinos have shifted to online in many of their daily activities. From taking classes to buying groceries, activities moved to online as lockdowns and quarantine impositions continue during the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
If Duterte succeeded in getting what he wanted, that would have been a notable part of his legacy as a leader. But his Sona Monday, July 26, 2021, made no mention of a legacy in connectivity and digital communications.
A few days before Duterte’s 2021 Sona, telecommunications companies announced an innovation to benefit millions of subscribers. The Telecommunications Connectivity Inc. (TCI), the company formed by Globe Telecom, Smart Communications, and Dito Telecommunity, will launch the Mobile Number Portability Act on September 30, 2021. Through portability, mobile phone users would be able to switch networks and keep their numbers or change their subscription from postpaid to prepaid and vice versa.
It was strategic on their part to announce the “good news” last Thursday or four days before Duterte’s Sona but the matter of portability did not address directly the call he made a year ago.
Duterte said last year: “I call on our (telecommunications) companies to improve their services lest we be forced to take drastic steps to address the less-than-ideal service that the public is getting from you... Huwag naman ninyo kaming pahintayin sampung taon bago kami makakamit ng mga services that the other countries are enjoying. If it’s just a question of added capitalization or the infusion of money, go and look for it. Maghanap kayo because if you are not ready to improve