MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte in his fifth state of the nation address (SONA), held at Batasang Pambansa, warned of possible expropriation if giant telcos in the country don’t improve their services.
The president, was of course, referring to Globe Telecom, Smart and PLDT that were always the subject of a lot of complaints from their subscribers due to alleged ‘poor services.’ they provide to customers.
Duterte said: “You might not want what I intend to do with you. Kindly improve the services before December. I want to call Jesus Christ (in) Bethlehem, better have that line cleared.”
Senator Vicente Sotto III also advised telecommunication companies to seriously consider improving the slow internet connection in most part of the country, or else face government expropriation. “I will advise the telcos to shape up. They should ‘seriously’ take up what the President said.”
Sotto said the president can do that following a process. “The President can do that. There is a process. That is possible. The government can remove those franchises anytime with another bill or with another law.”
“I don’t think it was intended directly to foreign investors. It’s really a point directly headed towards these telcos.I feel talagang he’s so disappointed and he has people telling him that a lot of people are disappointed,” Sotto told Abs Cbn News Channel.
Meanwhile, Yoly Crisanto, Globe senior vice president for Corporate Communications refuted the president’s accusations against the giant telcos in the country.
In a press statement, Crisanto said Globe has already infused 1.2 billion US dollars for the network’s upgrading program this year.
Crisanto said part of the improvement program included in the multi-million budget include 4G/LTE and 5G for Globe At Home internet services.
The Globe executive said the Philippines, is in fact, among the best internet connectivity providers in the country based on a survey by independent mobile analytics. The Philippines, Crisanto said, ranked number four in Asia for most improved internet services.
Crisanto maintained that the problem is not with globe why far-flung areas in the countryside cannot be connected with the internet services they provide.
The problem, Crisanto said, is still in the local government units and the national agencies composed of the Department of Health and CAAP that prevented Globe from establishing more cell sites in the country.
But still, Crisanto said, Globe is supporting the move of President Duterte to improve the services of all telcos so that the people will enjoy fast internet connectivity in the coming days of the “new normal.”