Poe to 3rd telco bidders: Don’t delay selection process

Ralf Rivas
Poe to 3rd telco bidders: Don’t delay selection process
Senator Grace Poe says companies vying to become the 3rd telecommunications player can complain before the courts, but must not be a cause of delay for the selection process

MANILA, Philippines – Senate committee on public services chairperson Grace Poe warned interested parties not to delay the selection process for the country’s third major telecommunications player.

“Hindi naman nila puwedeng basta-bastang pigilin ang proseso ng pagkakaroon ng 3rd telco dahil lamang hindi sila nasiyahan sa mga probisyon na iyon,” Poe said on Monday, October 22, after the Senate hearing on the matter.

(They cannot stop the process of selecting the 3rd telco just because they are not happy with certain provisions.)

During the discussion regarding the selection process, Information and Communications Technology Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr repeated his criticism against NOW Telecom for filing a complaint against the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

The company claimed the terms of reference contained money-making schemes that were not tackled during the public consultations.

“Only NOW [Telecom] is contesting. Taking the performance or participating bond to the court changes totally the terms of reference and therefore [would] be a cause of delay,” Rio said.

Rio previously insinuated that NOW Telecom cannot really afford to be the 3rd telco player and was delaying the process.

NOW Corporation, NOW Telecom’s publicly-listed affiliate, has since threatened to sue Rio. It attributed the sharp drop in its share prices to his statements.

“Okay naman na idaan ninyo ang reklamo ninyo sa korte, pero huwag naman para ipapigil dahil ang lahat naman dito sa atin ay gusto na gumanda ang serbisyo ng ating mga cellphones, ng ating internet, at ‘wag na tayong magbayad ng napakamahal,” Poe said.

(It’s alright to take your complaint to court, but not as a way to delay the selection process. We all want to improve the services of our cellphones, of our internet, and not pay high fees.)

NOW Telecom’s lawyer Aldrich Dy assured the panel that they are not stalling.

“We still want the bidding to push through because NOW Telecom really wants to participate in the bid,” Dy said in a mix of English and Filipino.

The Manila Regional Trial Court already dismissed the firm’s request for a temporary restraining order, but is still set to conduct hearings on other points raised.

NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba said the company will not lose points due to the complaint.

The government is set to announce a “provisional” 3rd telco on November 7, barring any decision from the courts.

China Telecom, Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (PT&T) , NOW Telecom, Telenor ASA Group, Udenna Corporation (Converge ICT), the consortium of LCS Group of Companies and TierOne Communications, Mobiltel Holding GmBH, and an undisclosed bidder each bought bid documents for P1 million.  Rappler.com

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.