MANILA, Philippines – Senate public services committee chairperson Grace Poe vowed to sue Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs and Information and Communications Technology Ramon “RJ” Jacinto if he insists on his cellular tower duopoly plan.
“Talagang tututulan ko ‘yan at saka hindi ko lang basta-bastang tututulan dahil kung saka-sakaling hindi nila tayo pinakinggan, kasi alam ‘nyo naman ganyan ‘pag humaharap sa Senado ang gaganda ng sinasabi pero hindi naman nila tinutuloy, kaya mag-fa-file tayo ng kaso kasi kailangan talagang pigilan ang mga ganitong uri ng mga polisiya na sa tingin ko ay makakasama sa ating mga kababayan,” Poe said in a radio interview on Thursday, January 10.
(I will really oppose that and not just that, should they not listen to us, because you know they face the Senate and say good words but they won’t pursue them, we will file a case. This kind of policy should be stopped because I think it is harmful to our countrymen.)
Poe again expressed opposition to Jacinto’s policy, saying it is counterproductive to the government’s goal of improving telecommunications infrastructure in the country.
She said the proposal would slow down the improvement, as the country still lacks 45,000 cell towers.
“Dalawa lang ang kumpanya na gumagawa din niyan halos ‘di ba, Globe at Smart. Tapos ngayon, si presidential adviser on economic affairs, si Mr RJ Jacinto, ang sinasabi niya na ‘yung kanilang proposal ay papayagan lamang nila ay dalawang kumpanya ang gagawa ng cell towers,” Poe said.
(Right now, there are only two companies doing that, Globe and Smart. And now, Mr RJ Jacinto, presidential adviser on economic affairs, wants to only allow two companies.)
“Hindi ba ang gusto nga ng Presidente magkaroon ng mas maraming kompetisyon lalong-lalo na pagdating diyan sa cellular service para mas bababa ang presyo, mas magiging efficient? Itong ginagawa ni presidential adviser on economic affairs ay parang kabaligtaran,” Poe added.
(Isn’t it that the President wants competition in cellular services to lower prices and to increase efficency? What the presidential adviser on economic affairs is doing is the opposite.)
As early as October 2018, Poe had slammed the move, saying that firms which want to build cell towers should be allowed as long as they are subject to regulations.
Jacinto, through a draft memorandum circular, is pushing for a policy that will allow only two independent tower companies to build and share their towers for use of Globe and PLDT, as well as the incoming 3rd telco player in the industry.
The Philippine Competition Commission, the Office of the Solicitor General, and industry stakeholders oppose the anti-competitive nature of the policy.
Information and Communications Technology Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr also said the proposal would surely be challenged by the telcos in court. – Rappler.com