PASAY CITY, Philippines – Losing bidders PT&T and Sear Telecom have brought their complaints to the Senate against the country’s winning third telco Mislatel Consortium.
Sear Telecom’s chairman and president Chavit Singson argued that Mislatel still has an existing contract with them which bars Mislatel from entering into another deal.
Sear Telecom together with PT&T wants the government to disqualify Chinese-owned Mislatel from being awarded as the country’s third telco.
“From the beginning disqualified ang Mislatel dahil may kontrata sa amin ang Mislatel,” Sison said during Tuesday’s (November 27) inquiry on the matter.
On the other hand, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said the process of awarding the contract to the winning bidder will continue unless the court issues its decision on the complaints of the losing bidder.
However still, the agency admitted that the legal battle will surely affect or delay the entry of the third telco.
Nevertheless, DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio said they will still “abide by the decision of the court.”
On issues of security, Senator Grace Poe questioned National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon on the possible implication to national security of the reported “hijacking” incident of China Telcom on internet traffic that affects even powerful countries.
The incident is up for investigation by the National Intelligence and Coordinating Agency (NICA).
“We have read about that report. It is subject to validation on our part. We have the 90 days period to do that. The winning provisional NMP will have to be undergo a background check by the National Intelligence and Coordinating Agency,” said Esperon.
The DICT maintained that they see no threat to national security with the entry of the Chinese telecom firm in the country.
“So the threat of Chinese product, Chinese people, really operating our telecommunication are really here,” Rio said,
For its part, Mislatel assured that the rights of the Filipino people will be protected.
“We are a Filipino company. We will not allow national interest and national security to be undermined,” assured Atty. Adel Tamano, Mislatel’s spokesperson.
But Poe insisted that a thorough scrutiny on the background of the third telco should still be conducted.
“Pero iba pa rin siyempre yung mismong korporasyon ang pagmamayari ay taga ibang bansa,” said the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services, Senator Poe.
Meanwhile, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV requested the presence of Mislatel’s owner Dennis Uy in the next inquiry.
Uy was a no-show in today’s Senate inquiry. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Nel Maribojoc)
MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives is set to transmit to the Senate its version of the P4.506-trillion proposed 2021 national budget, a day before the promised date of Oct. 28, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said Tuesday.
Velasco earlier said he and Senate President Vicente Sotto III agreed on the date as the deadline of transmission.
The House speaker said the record-high budget was designed to further strengthen government response and stimulate economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We increased the allocation for the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines by more than three-fold to cover more Filipinos. We also provided extra allocation for the facilities enhancement program of the Department of Health to help improve the country’s health care system,” Velasco said in a statement.
“The House-approved version of the budget also has additional funding for the Department of Labor and Employment to aid workers displaced by COVID-19 and for the Department of Social Welfare and Development for another round of financial assistance to families affected by the pandemic,” he added.
The lower chamber passed the budget bill on third and final reading last Oct. 17 after it was certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.
The bill was approved a few days after Velasco was elected to the House’s top post following the removal of Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano as Speaker. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate has approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to grant the President the authority to expedite the processing and issuance of national and local permits, licenses, and certifications during national emergency.
Voting 23-0 on Wednesday, senators approved Senate Bill 1844 which grants power to the president to suspend the requirements for national and local permits, licenses, and certifications, and to streamline and speed up the process for the issuance of such documents.
The measure was passed shortly after President Rodrigo Duterte certified it as urgent.
The bill covers all agencies of the executive branch, including departments, bureaus, offices, commissions, boards, councils; government instrumentalities, government owned and controlled corporations and local government units.
Under the measure, the President shall have the authority to accelerate and streamline regulatory processes and procedures for new and pending applications and renewals of permits, licenses, clearances, certifications or authorizations, including fixing or shortening the periods provided for under existing laws, regulations, issuances and ordinances.
It also authorizes the President to suspend or waive the requirements in securing such permits, licenses, clearances, certifications or authorizations.
In consultation with or upon recommendation of affected government agencies, the President may also prescribe to be permanent the streamlined regulatory processes and procedures, and the suspension or waiver of the requirements in securing permits, licenses, clearances, and certifications or authorizations.
The proposal likewise reiterates the power of the chief executive given by the Constitution to remove or suspend any government official or employee as provided under the measure.
The bill, however, provides that the authority to be granted to the President “shall not be used to undermine the existing procedures and processes, under applicable laws, rules, and regulations, meant to protect the environment, especially those that aim to safeguard protected areas and its buffer zones, and environmentally critical areas.”
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who sponsored the bill, said the measure was made under the same principle as that of the Bayanihan 2 provisions to extend the President’s authority beyond the current pandemic and any national emergency that the country might face in the future.
He said the measure could ease the already heavy burden of the businesses that were heavily hit and continuously being beaten by the gargantuan effects of the pandemic.
“This is a good accompanying measure to the ease of doing business. I think a lot of good will come out of this and I believe that with this, the President will be emboldened to remove more people for their ineptitude and incompetence,” he said in a statement.
The bill was authored by Zubiri, Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon and Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate of the Philippines on Monday (October 12) approved on third and final reading the franchise bill seeking the construction of the New Manila International Airport in the province of Bulacan.
House Bill 7507 grants San Miguel Aerocity Incorporated, a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation, to start the 10-year project that includes the creation of an ‘Airport City.’
The company will shoulder the overall expenses of P736-B and no amount will come from the national government, and during that period, it shall be exempted from all direct and indirect taxes and fees.
The franchise also awards San Miguel Corporation the right to operate the airport for 40 years from opening before the government may take over its operations. within which, it shall be exempted from income and property taxes until it has recouped its investments.
Senator Grace Poe, who sponsored the bill in the Senate, has earlier assured her colleagues that the projected economic growth in the province will compensate for the revenues that the government is expected to lose due to the tax incentives that will be given to the developer during the 50-year franchise.
Poe added that the project will generate jobs for Filipinos.
“The San Miguel Airport alone will provide 450,000 during the construction phase alone and then after that, upwards of a million people will be able to benefit in this undertaking,” she said.
Senator Joel Villanueva thanked his colleague for the support of the project which he believes will be a big boost to the economy of his home province.
Senator Richard Gordon, meanwhile, believes that the new airport will help decongest other airports in Luzon such as the Clark International Airport and Manila International Airport once constructed.
The new facility is expected to accommodate 100 to 200 million passengers every year. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)
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