Telco services in storm-hit areas back

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Telecommunication services in areas hit by Tropical Depression ‘Usman’ have been fully restored since Friday, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said.

DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. made this assurance to President Rodrigo R. Duterte during a situation briefing held in Pili, Camarines Sur on Friday.

“So far, no damages were reported on our telecommunication infrastructure, except for some disruption in services because of lack of power but when these cell sites have gen set and when they were used up to now, we have restored 100 percent services, telecommunication services,” Rio said.

According to Rio, free Wi-Fi hotspots, particularly 19 access points, were affected by the tropical depression because of lack of power.

Rio also bared that his agency had problems with the bidding of government emergency communication system.

However, he said the agency was able to obligate it before the end of 2018 and will have the system operational by the first quarter of this year.

Rio said that this will make the communication setup in case of emergency more effective.

Earlier, National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Executive Director Ricardo Jalad said some areas in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) Bicol Region, and Eastern Visayas experienced power interruption since 29 December but have been restored.

In the same briefing, Duterte asked Rio if all telecommunication projects were running smoothly, stressing that he has warned the judiciary not to interfere about injunctions because it will delay the telco projects of government.

Rio said that because of the President’s strong political will, no injunction, temporary restraining order was ever iisued by any court on any of the agency’s projects in telecommunication.

Earlier, Rio defended the selection of a new major telco following a petition filed before the Supreme Court that seeks to nullify the confirmation of Mislatel Consortium as the third telco player.

Rio said that the bidding done was “the most transparent, publicly participated” and that delaying its entry will derail faster and better communication services in the country.

p: wjg

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