President Duterte will no longer accept any alibi from telecommunication companies (telcos) if they fail to improve their service, Malacañang said Thursday.

roque2 - ‘No more alibi from telcos after easing of gov’t requirements’ — Roque
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque
(OPS / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, the President has taken steps to address the concerns of telcos, including reducing red tape and streamlining government processes at the local level, to hasten the establishment of cell towers and other facilities.

“Ibig sabihin, wala na pong dahilan ang mga telcos sa mga darating na panahon para hindi magbigay ng mas mabuting serbisyo sa panahon na talagang pati sa edukasyon ay nangangailangan tayo ng internet (It means the telcos have no more reason not to give better service especially at a time when even education needs the internet)” he said during a televised press briefing.

“Inaasahan po ng Presidente na dahil ginawa naman niya ang kaniyang obligasyon na sabihan ang mga lokal na pamahalaan dahil sila ang sinisisi ng telcos to shape up eh hindi na po tatanggap ng kahit anong alibi ang Presidente in the future kung hindi po mapabuti ang ating telecom sa bansa (Because he has done his obligation to tell the local governments which have been blamed by the telcos to shape up, the President will no longer accept any alibi in the future if the telecoms are not improved in the country),” he said.

Roque has agreed with Information and Communications Secretary Gregorio Honasan’s pronouncement that the country’s internet services is not that bad. The Palace official however stressed there was still room for improvement.

“Secretary Gringo Honasan was absolutely correct. It’s not too bad compared to, or it is not bad compared to our neighbors,” he said. “But we can do better and we will do better,” he said.

In his State of the Nation Address last July, the President threatened to close down the country’s major telco players and expropriate them if services would not improve by December.  Duterte asked PLDT/Smart and Globe Telecoms to improve their lousy services, saying the patience of Filipinos is wearing thin.

A Globe executive later complained to the President about the alleged bureaucratic red tape, particularly the excessive number of permits required, that delayed the construction of cell towers. Acting on the complaint, the President immediately asked local government units to act on permit applications of telcos within three days to hasten the improvement of the country’s connectivity.

Recently, President Duterte signed Bayanihan 2 law the allows the suspension for three years of the requirement to apply for permits to build telco facilities. The Palace said the easing of telco permits would prompt the companies to speed up the construction of their communication facilities.

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