3rd telco player: Senate sets nat’l security probe
Senators will look into “national security concerns” involving the selection of the consortium of businessman Dennis A. Uy’s Udenna Corp. and state-run China Telecom as the new major telco player.
Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the Senate public services committee, said her panel would seek explanations from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) about why the Dennis Uy-led group, also known as Mislatel Consortium, was chosen.
“Next week, we will resume our public hearing on the third telco, and we will use the opportunity to delve into the details of the decision to choose Mislatel,” she said in a statement.
Poe said the DICT, the NTC and executives of the consortium ought to give the public a better understanding of what they could offer in terms of services.
President Duterte had promised during the campaign to break the duopoly of Globe and Smart in the telecommunications industry and let a third player in to bring better services to consumers.
She also said she wanted answers and assurances about the risks possibly being faced by the country in contracting the services of a foreign entity.
“We will also ask our national security experts and telco technology specialists to shed light on national security concerns given that a foreign entity is a partner of the selected third telco,” Poe said.
The senator said the Senate should not disregard its oversight function especially involving such sensitive government transactions.
“While we have been assured by the NTC and the DICT that the selection process was without bias, we cannot be remiss in our duty and mandate to look into the matter,” she said.
Poe added: “We should also take note that it is a requirement under our laws that the third telco or its Filipino partner must secure a congressional franchise.”
“In the end, transparency, accountability and integrity are always the benchmark for government projects and undertaking,” she said.
Visit to DICT
Early on Tuesday, officials of China Telecom paid a visit to the DICT. During the visit, China Telecom chair Yang Jie said the third telco venture would “promote the friendship and enhance collaboration” between the Philippines and China, according to his speech that was carried by television networks.
China Telecom, together with Uy’s Udenna Corp., promised to provide faster and inexpensive internet services to Filipinos.
“We will try our best to fulfill what we committed,” said the China Telecom chair, who spoke through an interpreter. —With a report from Miguel R. Camus
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