SONA2020: Duterte gives Telcos until December to improve services or face closure

Marje Pelayo   •   July 28, 2020   •   197

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines — On his state of the nation (SONA) address on Monday (July 27), President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his disappointment over the poor services the Filipino people are getting from two major telecommunications companies in the country.

The President thus warned the two telcos to improve their services and he expects results before the end of the year, otherwise, he will order a government takeover.

“If you are not ready to improve, I might just as well close all of you and we revert back to the line telephone at kukunin ko iyan, i-expropriate ko sa gobyerno (I will take it and I will expropriate to the government),” the President said naming the telco giants, Smart and Globe.

He gave the telcos until December to improve their services.

President Duterte has been vocal about his frustration over the poor service of telco players since 2018 which led to the entry of a third telco — the Dito Telecommunity — into the country’s telecommunications industry. 

“I will be the one to articulate the anger of the Filipino people and you might not want what I intend to do with you. Kindly improve the services before December,” he warned.

In response, Globe Telecom vows to comply with the President’s demand.

“We heed the call of the president to improve telco services,” the company said in a statement.

“Service performance and increased consumer demand for data are the key reasons why we have been investing billions of dollars to upgrade and improve our network,” it concluded. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Next PNP Chief: DILG’s Año to recommend 5 names to Duterte

Robie de Guzman   •   August 7, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año is set to submit to President Rodrigo Duterte his shortlist of candidates to be the next chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

In an exclusive interview with UNTV News, Año said his list would consist of five names – three of them are three-star generals and are members of the PNP command group. The remaining two would be two-star and one-star generals but he has yet to pick the names of those he will recommend to the president.

“Sa ngayon, pare-parehas sila eh. Pero for sure, yung mga 3-star [generals] kasama yan sa ire-recommend ko. Pag-aaralan ko pa yung mga 2-star at 1-star na pwede isama sa listahan but I will submit five names,” he said.

Año said he will submit the list at least a week before the mandatory retirement of PNP chief General Archie Gamboa.

Gamboa will bow out of the police service when he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 on September 3.

“Normally, mga two weeks to one week before magsusubmit na ulit ako ng pangalan sa Pangulong Duterte kung sino mga ire-recommend ko, pero ibig sabihin naman nun, ang Pangulong Duterte pwedeng pumili anybody from one-star to three-star,” the DILG chief said.

Whoever will be chosen from the five would inherit a PNP that is among the country’s frontliners in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

All generals in the police force are eligible to be promoted to the police’s top post. The president may also choose a general outside the shortlist given by Año to be his next police chief.

When asked about the possible extension of Gamboa’s term as PNP chief amid the public health crisis, Año replied with: “Palagay ko naman wala na siguro kasi bawal naman ang extension kasi, so we have to follow the law,” he said. “Ang organization naman kasi dynamic, naka-lay out naman dyan ang direction plans kahit naman sino umupo diyan, itutuloy nya lang yung programs.”

Among the three-star generals and members of command group of the PNP are deputy chief for administration Lieutenant General Camilo Cascolan, deputy chief for operations Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, and chief directorial staff Lieutenant General Cesar Hawthorne Binag.

Cascolan belongs to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Sinagtala Class of 1986, while both Eleazar and Binay belong to PMA Hinirang Class of 1987.

Cascolan will retire in November 2020, Eleazar in November 2021, and Binag in April 2021.

Meanwhile, among the two-star and one-star generals whose names might get picked on for the top police post are directorate for operations director Major General Emmanuel Licup, National Capital Region Police Office director Major General Debold Sinas, and Police Regional Office 4A director Brigadier General Vicente Danao Jr.

Both Licup and Sinas belong to the PMA Hinirang class of 1987 while Danao belongs to the PMA Sambisig Class of 1991. – RRD (from the report of Correspondent Lea Ylagan)

Globe Telecom says mobile data services in NCR fully restored

Marje Pelayo   •   August 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Globe Telecom announced on Wednesday (August 5) that its mobile data and broadband services in the National Capital Region (NCR) are now fully restored.

Globe users turned to social media after days of fluctuating Internet connections especially those working at home and having online classes.

In its advisory, the company asked its customers to refresh connections by turning off and turning on their devices again.

In an earlier advisory, Globe Telecom said it was having some technical issues thus its clients in the NCR experienced intermittent or slow data service.

Image may contain: text that says 'Globe CUSTOMER ADVISORY FOR GLOBE MOBILE AND BROADBAND CUSTOMERS We would like to advise our mobile customers in NCR that their mobile data services are now fully restored. Broadband services in Luzon are likewise restored. Customers within the said areas may now continue to access the internet use their mobile data. Please refresh your connection by turning OFF and then turning again your mobile device or modem. Thank you for your patience and understanding.'
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Duterte tells telcos to report LGUs delaying permit processing

Robie de Guzman   •   July 31, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said telecommunications companies should report local government units that are obstructing the building of additional cell towers by delaying the processing of permits.

Duterte made the statement in a televised address after Globe Telecom President and CEO Ernest Cu told the president about their permitting woes in order to build more cell sites and improve their services.

“We are suffering ho from many, many years of this, before your administation, many administrations, 25 to 29 permit umaabot ng walong buwan tapos marami pa ho kaming miscellaneous fees ho. Iba-ibang klaseng tower fee. Mayroon kaming special use permit,” Cu said.

Cu met with Duterte after the latter threatened during his State of the Nation Address to shut down or expropriate telcos if no improvements are made in their services before December.

“Kasi sabi ko, ‘pag hindi mo pa na-improve ‘yan, I will hang you in one of your towers. Sabi niya, “Mayor, you cannot do that because there is no tower. The local governments are all f—–g it up,” Duterte told Cu in jest.

After hearing Cu’s concerns, the chief executive urged telcos to issue a formal complaint against local government units that are stalling the processing of permits for additional communication towers.

He also told telcos to report LGUs to proper authorities.

“Isumbong niyo na lang ng diresto at ang order ko sa Cabinet ngayon is to really take the, ‘kung pinakamabigat, the most drastic measure that you can find, para magkaintindihan. This is my last mile,” he said.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, in the same briefing, said that local government units have been ordered to shorten the process and reduce the time spent in producing permits to 16 to 20 days.

“Dati po kailangan pa ng Home-Owners Association Resolution, kailangan pa ng Sangguniang Bayan Resolution, wala na po ‘yon. 16 days to 20 days po ang target para y’ong lahat ng permit ay tatakbo,” he said.

The government has been pushing for the ease of doing business to streamline the process in government agencies.

Globe Telecom and PLDT Inc. earlier said they are currently working on expansion plans to improve the communication services in the country. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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