By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Grace Poe has questioned the delay in the rollout of services of the third telecommunications player despite the Congress’ approval of its operations.
Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, asked what is taking the Mindanao Islamic Telephone (Mislatel) consortium long to deliver its promises almost a month after its 90-day post qualification period lapsed last February 17.
“Hindi ko nga alam kung bakit noon ganadong-ganado sila [Mislatel], tapos ngayon parang nagdadalawang-isip ba sila (I don’t know why they were so eager before but now, are they having second thoughts)?” the reelectionist senator said in an interview at the Go Negosyo’s Youth Entrepreneurship Summit in Pasay City Friday.
Poe reiterated that Senate and the House of Representatives need not settle the issue on Mislatel’s franchise since a joint Congress resolution was already passed to allow the transfer of controlling interest to the consortium owned by businessman Dennis Uy and state-owned China Telecom.
“Ngayon, hindi na naman sila sumulat sa amin para sabihin na ito ang kulang kasi, ang alam ko, sabi naman ng DICT (Department of Information and Communications Techonology), okay na,” she said.
“Sana huwag nilang gawing dahilan ‘yan para mag-back out,” she added.
The DICT was earlier asked to reveal the status of the awarding of Mislatel as the new major telco player amid reports that the firm has not yet paid its P25.7 billion performance bond to the government, and that it failed to submit a formal declaration from the House concurring to the Senate resolution approving its franchise.
The two were included in the terms set by the National Telecommunications Commission in its selection of a third telco player.
Mislatel should comply within the 90-day post qualification period, so it could be granted a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to be able to start operations.
Poe said she hopes that Mislatel would still be able to make true its promise of improving the country’s telco services.