Manny Pangilinan denies PLDT owes gov't P8 billion

Vivienne Gulla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2019 08:17 PM

MANILA - PLDT Chairman and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan on Thursday denied President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that the telecommunications giant owes government P8 billion.

“I checked internally... As far as we know, wala kaming utang (we don't have any debt). We pay our taxes regularly. In fact, in advance. I don’t know what he’s referring to,” Pangilinan told reporters on the sidelines of the NLEX Harbor Link Segment 10 inauguration.

Duterte had made the claim during a campaign sortie in Cebu City last Sunday, saying he could shut down PLDT if it would not take action on the inaccessibility of the government's 8888 public complaints hotline. 

"Dili kaya sa present setup. Sige busy. Ingnang PLDT. Og dili, sila may akong sirhan. Oo. Tinuod na. Di lang ko gustong manghambog. Naay utang sa gobyerno P8 billion. Sukad pa na niadto. Way presidente nakapaningil... " Duterte said.

(The present setup can’t accommodate all the calls. It’s always busy. Tell PLDT. If not, I’ll shut down their business. Oo, that’s true. I don’t want to brag, but they owe government P8 billion. No President has ever asked for payment.)

To address Duterte's complaint, Pangilinan said PLDT was taking steps, including adding 20 more trunklines. PLDT is also looking at installing a system to the government’s hotline that would organize the queueing of calls.

“Kung ang problema 'yung (if the problem is the) trunk lines, we have added since 2 nights ago 20 more trunk lines to ease the congestion, but we suspect that part of the issue is the number of agents on the other side,” Pangilinan said.

“We’re extending all our cooperation to make this thing work. I know this project is important to the president,” he added.