President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday that he would unilaterally decide by himself the country’s telecommunications issue if nothing happens on the planned entry of the third company by November or December.
“Maybe late or early November if there is no decision yet, I will take over. I will put that under the Office of the President, and I will invite all the businessmen. I will decide in front of them,” said Duterte as he addressed the nation in a live dialogue with Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo Tuesday afternoon.
The President, who vowed to handle the selection process himself, explained how he plans to decide on the third telco player.
“Give me your position papers. I will read it, give me about 30 minutes then I’ll come back and tell them.
I will decide. That’s it and the line will be given,” he said.
The Chief Executive had expressed frustration over the delay of the selection process.
“You know, I’ve been waiting for that critical decision until now there’s nothing,” the President said.
He said that he would rather pick a bidder with the best track record even with its expensive offer, instead of a company which offers the lowest possible price.
“I don’t want to select just on the basis of the lowest bid,” Duterte said.
In his third State of the Nation Address last July, Duterte said he expects the next major telco to provide the best possible Internet service at a reasonable cost.
The President enumerated the characteristics of the next telco player as ‘reliable, inexpensive, and secure.’
“The terms of reference for the entry of a major industry player should be reasonable and comprehensive,” Duterte said in his speech.
“The only condition is that the chosen entity must provide the best possible services at reasonable accessible prices,” he added.
The President also said in his speech the administration targets to lower interconnection rates so as to “ensure that the solution to the telecommunication problems will be both meaningful and lasting.”
The Department of Information and Communications Technology previously said the third telco may be named before the year ends.
It is also expected to provide service in the country by 2019 if the selection process went smoothly. The chosen telco will then be subject to a five-year observation under the said department.