Senate allows transfer of Mislatel control to Udenna, China Telecom

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 6) — The Senate has allowed the transfer of Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company's (Mislatel) ownership control to a consortium.

The consortium, led by Dennis Uy's Udenna Corporation, Udenna's subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Holdings, and foreign state-owned China Telecom, will also take over Mislatel's franchise to operate.

Under the House resolution adopted by the Senate, Mislatel's ownership structure will be: 35 percent to Udenna, 25 percent to Chelsea Logistics, and 40 percent to China Telecom.

READ: House resolution calls for Udenna-China Telecom control of MISLATEL

Senate Committee on Public Services vice chair Francis "Chiz" Escudero, who defended at the plenary the House resolution, admitted that there were defects in Mislatel's franchise.

"According to the representatives of Mislatel, they did not make a public offering equivalent to 30 percent of their shareholdings owing to their non-operation," Escudero said, referring to statements made by Mislatel during a previous Senate hearing.

The franchise granted by Congress to Mislatel in 1998 required it to be in operation one year after the franchise was granted, and to make a public offering of 30 percent of its shares.

Mislatel had previously stated that the peace and order situation in Maguindanao had prevented it from operating.

READ: Drilon says franchise of Mislatel 'deemed revoked' due to violations

In the plenary hearing Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said that Mislatel was given a nationwide franchise, which allowed it to operate outside of Maguindanao.

Drilon, along with Senators Panfilo "Ping" Lacson and Risa Hontiveros voted against adopting the resolution.

The Mislatel Consortium plans to operate by late 2019 or early 2020.