MANILA — Telecommunication providers are rushing to report their new towers, Malacañang said Thursday, after President Rodrigo Duterte gave them until this December to improve their services or risk "closure" or "expropriation."
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier this week said there seemed to be "no improvement yet" on the service of duopoly PLDT and Globe Telecom, which he asked to submit a progress report.
"Lahat sila nag-uunahan magbigay ng eksplanasyon," he told reporters.
(They are all racing to gave an explanation.)
Roque said his next press briefing "will be exclusively on telcos."
"We will have the telcos, all 3 of them, and the NTC on Tuesday," he said.
Duterte in July told telcos to "improve the services before December."
"I want to call Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, better have that line cleared...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 yan (I will take that) expropriate ko sa gobyerno (to the government)," Duterte said in his 5th State of the Nation Address.
Telcos should report to his Cabinet officials the local government units hampering the building of cell sites in the country, Duterte had said.
Third telecommunications player DITO Telecommunity, aiming to challenge the duopoly of Globe and PLDT, has enjoyed Duterte's support when he said there was "no corruption" in the consortium.
DITO is composed of Dennis Uy's Udenna Corp and Chelsea Logistics with China Telecom.
Uy is a long-time ally of the President while Beijing has had friendly bilateral relations with the Philippines under Duterte's administration.
Globe Telecom said it has built 911 new cell sites as of November and expects to build 389 more sites before the year ends.
PLDT-Smart for its part said, it has increased the number of LTE and 3G base stations to over 58,000, while also rolling out an additional 313 5G base stations.