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Faulty internet interrupts Palace briefing on telco services

MJ Blancaflor

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Poor internet connection briefly interrupted Malacañang’s televised press conference on Thursday, which, incidentally, was dedicated to discuss the telco firms’ services.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said he will report to President Rodrigo Duterte the one-minute interruption of his briefing which occurred due to an internet glitch.

“In my report to the President, I will tell him what happened on the day we rendered a report on the telcos — that we lost our internet connection,” Roque said.

During the press conference via Zoom, a reporter and Communications Undersecretary Rocky Ignacio, designated to read queries from the media, suddenly lost their connection on the briefing.

“There is just an internet interruption,” Roque said.

The Palace official then turned to Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Manny Caintic — who also joined the briefing via teleconference — but he, too, was gone.

“They’re both gone. Usec Caintic, why is it like this?” Roque said. “Usec Caintic is not here, too.”

After the connection was restored, Roque seized the opportunity to ask Caintic: “Usec, we experienced the problematic internet connection first hand…what is the real solution here?”

Caintic replied: “More towers, more fiber cables, and better customer service. It takes time to build (cell towers) but we help them build by making our regulations easy, firm, and faster.”

Since the start of the enhanced community quarantine last year, reporters from Malacañang Press Corps have been barred from entering the New Executive Building for regular Palace briefings.

The continuing threat of Covid-19 prompted the Presidential Security Group to limit those who can enter Malacañang compound.

Roque, before concluding his noontime briefing, vowed that the internet service will improve in the Philippines before Duterte steps down from office in 2022.

“The problems of telcos are felt by everyone, even on the seat of power — Malacañan Palace,” he said.

“You can expect that the President’s term will not end without a more effective and faster internet service for the public,” he added.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has earlier instructed all public telecommunications firms to submit their respective rollout plans for this year.

The measure will allow the NTC to monitor telcos’ progress in helping the country improve its internet speed and the country’s better global rankings in Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index.

The NTC said it had informed the DICT that the agency will push for front-loaded implementation of plans, particularly for the first two quarters, in time for this year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

In his penultimate SONA last July, Duterte threatened to seize the assets and close Globe Telecom and PLDT Smart if they do not improve their services.

Duterte, in his speech, zeroed in on the telecom duopoly as he railed against the country’s business elites — which he often brands “oligarchs.”

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