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Senate recognizes Mislatel’s transfer of ownership

/ 05:24 AM February 07, 2019

A consortium owned by President Rodrigo Duterte’s close friend and campaign contributor has hurdled the final stumbling block to its bid to be the country’s third telco as the Senate on Wednesday night approved the resolution recognizing its transfer of ownership.

With only three senators opposing it, the Senate adopted House Concurrent Resolution No. 23 allowing Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. (Mislatel) to sell the controlling interest in the company to the consortium of Udenna Corp., Chelsea Holdings Corp. and the state-run China Telecom.

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Udenna and Chelsea are both owned by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy, who provided P30 million to Mr. Duterte’s presidential campaign in 2016.

‘Unparalleled quality’

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“The (consortium) is committed to providing Filipinos with unprecedented and unparalleled quality of telecommunications services, made possible only by the organizational unity, fiscal cooperation and technology transfer between and among Mislatel and its committed investors,” the resolution read in part.

Only Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Senators Risa Hontiveros and Panfilo Lacson stood against the adoption of the resolution, which was sponsored by Sen. Grace Poe.

Considered void

Poe earlier said she would let the courts decide on the legitimacy of Mislatel’s original franchise after Drilon argued that it should be considered void because of Mislatel’s failure to operate within a year after securing congressional license in 1998.

Drilon had also contended that the transfer of the Mislatel franchise to the current majority owners in 2015 was void because it lacked congressional approval.

Poe had said that she was banking on the Mislatel consortium to keep its word to provide 27 mbps of internet speed to 37 percent of the population in the first year of operations.

Its entry, she added, would not only break the duopoly of PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom, but also give the country a chance to improve its mobile phone service and internet speed.

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The Philippines has one of the slowest internet speeds in the world.

“Now we are given the golden chance to possibly initiate a turnaround from being cellar-dwellers to a rising star in terms of internet speed in the telco industry,” Poe had said. —Marlon Ramos

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TAGS: Mislatel, Rodrigo Duterte, third telco
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