PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has rejected the request of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) to extend until May this year the deadline to select the third telecommunications player in the country, Malacañang said Tuesday, February 6.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. said Duterte turned down the proposal of DICT officer-in-charge Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr. during the Cabinet meeting on Monday, February 5.
Roque said the President maintained his position that the Philippine government should be able to facilitate the application process of the third telecommunications (telco) company by March this year.
"There was a request from officer-in-charge Secretary Rio that they be given two additional months or until May to award and to ensure that the third telecoms carrier is up and about," Roque told a press conference.
"This was not approved in yesterday's Cabinet meeting. So we stick it out with the original timeframe of a third telecom player by March of this year," he added.
In November 2017, Duterte invited China to enter the Philippine telecommunications industry and put an end to the "duopoly" of publicly listed companies Globe Telecom Inc. and PLDT Inc.
Duterte had instructed the DICT and the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to fast-track the application of Beijing-based China Telecom so it could start operations in the country by March.
On January 8, Rio signed Memorandum Order 001, which sets the guidelines for the selection of a new third major telecommunications player.
The memorandum states that companies seeking to join the country's telecommunications industry "shall be assigned radio frequency bands that are now available for assignment as idnetified by the NTC."
But Roque said Duterte was "displeased" with the particular condition.
"The President was particularly displeased with the fact that in order to have a third telecoms player, we would need to find frequencies to be allotted to the third telecom player," he said. (SunStar Philippines)