Duterte: I will take over third telco decision in November

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 11) — If the Department of Information and Technology (DICT) won't pick a third telco player soon — then he will, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday.

"Maybe late, early November, pag wala pa, I'll take over. Ilagay ko iyan sa [I will put it under the] Office of the President," Duterte said.

"I will invite all dito na negosyante, and I will decide in front of them kung sino. Give me your position papers, I'll read it. Give me 30 minutes. Then I'll come back and tell them I will decide. Iyon na [That will be it]."

About ten local and foreign firms — hailing from Vietnam, Norway, China and South Korea — are vying for a spot in the local telecommunications industry. The DICT released the criteria for choosing the third company last month.

Duterte made the comments during a tete-a-tete with Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo. The broadcast one-on-one interview had initially been announced as an address to the nation, and then later clarified to be a press conference. The press conference was later cancelled, and access to the event was restricted to state media network PTV-4.

Duterte was responding to a question raised by Panelo about concerns that the National Privacy Commission was imposing certain conditions that turned off potential telcos.

The President promised the third player would be finalized by the end of the year.

"I will resolve it by late October, [early] November," Duterte said. "By Christmas, alam na ng mga tao sino ang third player."

While the Philippines is one of the most active nations on social media and in internet use, it also has one of the slowest internet connections. The industry is currently a duopoly, held by giants Globe Telecom and PLDT.

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