Palace backs selection of 3rd telco player

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Presidential Spokesman and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo. (RTVM)

Malacañang affirmed the selection of Mindanao Islamic Telephone Corporation, Inc. (Mislatel) consortium as the provisional third major telecommunications player in the country saying on Thursday it was done through legal bidding processes.

Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo stressed that the consortium won in the initial selection process since it was the only one that passed the preliminary screening of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

“There are legal requirements for the entry of a third player… In the preliminary screening, that particular corporation of… Dennis Uy has passed it,” Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.

The Mislatel Consortium is composed of Uy’s Davao-based Udenna Corporation and its logistics arm, Chelsea Logistics Holdings, together with state-owned China Telecommunications, and Mislatel.

Panelo belied claims that Mislatel won the bidding because of the President’s close ties with Uy. He said all bidders went through the same bidding process, and it was only Uy’s consortium that passed the legal requirements.

The other two bidders that submitted their offers, namely the Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. (PT&T) and the SEAR Telecom Consortium, lacked the requirements and were thus disqualified, Panelo stated. In any case, he said they could still make an appeal to the NTC to consider their entries.

“There is a bidding process and all the bidders have to go through it. If one or two of them have not satisfied the requirements, necessarily one… will have to win over them,” Panelo stressed.

“For as long as they follow the legal requirements, then the assumption is that they are qualified,” he added.

Moreover, the Spokesperson said it was out of character for the President to influence government biddings and transactions in favor of his personal relationships.

“I think it’s a baseless assumption because given the character of this President, it’s far-fetched. As we all know, relationships, alliances and friendships do not matter with this President,” Panelo noted.

“The President’s policy is not to interfere with his departments… So the President has nothing to do with any of those bidding, negotiations or contracts. That’s the policy of the President and it holds until the end of his term,” he stressed.

Panelo said the general directive of the President is to look for a third telco player that would be able to provide efficient and improved services for the benefit of Filipino internet users.

p: wjg

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