Senator Panfilo Lacson on July 28 said that the threat of President Rodrigo Duterte against telecommunication companies (telcos) should serve as a wake-up call for them to better their services to the public.
In his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 27, Duterte warned telcos that the government will take a hard action against them should they continue their inefficient services to the customers—giving them until the end of December to improve their operations.
“Kindly improve the services before December. Better have that line cleared. If you are not ready to improve, I might just as well close all of you and we revert back to the line telephone at kukunin ko yan, expropriate ko sa gobyerno,” said President Duterte during his fifth SONA.
“As one thing in the President’s statement on the issue is certain and true: that our country’s telecommunications services pale in comparison with our neighbors and with other jurisdictions in terms of speed and efficiency,” said Lacson.
The senator also cited some of the actions Duterte has done against companies that have failed to shape up.
“This kind of threat worked in the past: Mighty’s P40-billion tax settlement; Philippine Airlines’ settling a P6-billion obligation to the government; the Mile Long property taken over by government; and the rehabilitation of Boracay, to name a few cases that did not need to undergo lengthy and expensive court litigations,” Manila Bulletin quoted him as saying.
The senator, however, said that the President did not address this same warning to inefficient local government units that extort money from telcos.
“But what the President failed to issue is a similar warning to some local government unit executives who extort money from the telcos in exchange for permits and licenses as well as protection from delays in the construction of such facilities, especially in areas where the presence of armed groups like the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) is strong,” the senator noted.