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Exec defends selection process for 3rd telco

/ 05:48 AM January 05, 2019

The head of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) defended the selection of a new major telco player as legal cases mount.

Eliseo Rio Jr., acting secretary of the DICT, said in a social media post on Friday that the bid rules issued in September last year were transparent and accepted by most of the interested participants.

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“To undo the selection process will ultimately derail the goal of achieving better and cheaper telco services for the Philippines. To do that, we need competition and investment, which the new major player will provide,” Rio said on his personal page on Facebook.

The statement appeared prompted by a Supreme Court case filed by a certain Marlon Anthony R. Tonson, who alleged that the selection rules were unconstitutional and failed to fully ensure national security.

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Tonson’s suit is batting for the government to invalidate the selection of Mislatel Consortium, the venture led by businessman Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp. and state-backed China Telecom, from being named as the new major telco player last November.

Through the filing, Tonson wanted to join the SC case earlier filed by disqualified bidder Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (PT&T) against the National Telecommunications Commission and to include additional respondents.

Rio, who did not mention Tonson by name, said the issues contained in the legal suit were addressed during “numerous public consultations and hearings” from February to September last year.

“All issues being raised by the private lawyer in his petition to intervene in the Supreme Court have been addressed by the Terms of Reference of the Selection Process, which all stakeholders, including consumer groups, participated in crafting,” Rio said.

On the potential threat to national security, Rio said the rules required that the winner “assure the government that its network will not be a source of threat to national and cyber security.”

Mislatel Consortium is now undergoing the post-qualification phase before being assigned a set of valuable radio frequencies that would allow it to launch mobiles services to compete with the duopoly of PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom.

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TAGS: Department of Information and Communications Technology, telco
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