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NTC dismisses appeals of 2 disqualified bidders

The National Telecommunications Commission on Tuesday denied the separate appeals of two disqualified bidders for the selection of a new major player in the telecom sector.

The agency’s selection committee thumbed down the respective motions for reconsideration filed by Sear Telecommunications Inc. and Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. for submitting “incomplete” and “non-compliant” bids. 

It said PT&T failed to submit a certification of technical capability from the NTC, while Sear Telecom of former Ilocos Sur governor Chavit Singson was disqualified for not submitting the “participation security” of P700 million.

The committee said PT&T and Sear could still file an appeal to NTC en banc until Thursday for P10 million. 

PT&T said it received Monday night the  decision of the selection committee of NTC rejecting its motion for reconsideration. 

“The PT&T management and its legal team are currently reviewing the selection committee’s denial of the Motion for Reconsideration to determine the next course of action that the company will take,” the company said. 

“We will be advising the stakeholders on the next steps that the company will take as soon as the same is decided by the management,”  it said.

Sear said in a separate statement that Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. Inc., the only group that passed the bidding requirements, “violated” the NTC-SC’s rules when it partnered with Udenna/Chelsea Logistics/China Telecom and participated in the bidding, without disclosing the subsistence of a valid contract and legally binding undertakings that prevents it from doing so.

“Unfortunately, the NTC-SC, in a rushed resolution, denied our motion, washed its hands and simplistically regarded our grounds as a private dispute – one that it had no jurisdiction to resolve. This ruling unmasks the NTC-SC’s insensitivity and total lack of appreciation of the level of diligence required in meticulously choosing a new NMP,” Sear said. 

“The NTC-SC failed to appreciate that, although the agreement is only between Mislatel and DigiPhil, such is relevant in determining the former’s legal capacity to enter into a consortium with Udenna, Chelsea Logistics and China Telecom,” it said.

Sear said the NTC-SC completely missed the very point and purpose of the selection process – which is to choose a new major player that is fully qualified, undoubtedly eligible and one that had no hindrance or limitation in its ability to participate in the bidding. 

“Here, NTC-SC must at the very least take a keen interest to determine for itself whether its chosen NMP in fact truthfully represented itself to be qualified to participate. Udenna and Chelsea, especially China Telecom, a state-owned corporation, would surely not want to be a part of any fraud,” Sear said. 

“Intent of letting Mislatel off the hook, the NTC-SC consciously adopted a myopic and limited scope of what it deems corrupt, fraudulent, collusive and coercive practices. It forced a liberal and wrong interpretation of what constitutes a violation of its rules, forgetting that the selection process is imbued with public interest, and hence should have been more strictly enforced. Instead of purposively controlling the fate of its selection process, the NTC-SC opted to passively wait for the courts to rule on a clear violation of their own formulated rules,” it said.

The SC-NTC declared  Mislatel Consortium, a joint venture of Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp., its subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp., Chinese state-owned China Telecommunications Corp. as the new major player.

Mislatel committed to invest P257 billion over a five-year period, including P150 billion in its first year of operations. In terms of Internet speed, the group committed to provide 27 megabits per second in its first year, and 55 mbps in five years.

The company plans to cover 84 percent of the population in five years and 34 percent in its first year of operation.

Topics: National Telecommunications Commission , NTC , Sear Telecommunications Inc. , Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. , PT&T
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