Jacinto, Rio quarrel over telco common tower policy

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 09 2019 11:55 PM

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MANILA - Two cabinet officials are at loggerheads over the proposed common tower policy that is supposed to facilitate the entry of the third major telecommunications player. 

In a Facebook post, Information and Communications Technology Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio on Jan. 2 said the common tower policy being proposed "would surely be challenged by the telcos in court," 

Rio said the policy, proposed by Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs and Information Technology Communications Ramon Jacinto, "potentially violates the telcos' legislative franchise which gives them the right to build their own telecommunication infrastructure including towers."

Jacinto, however, defended the policy saying the telcos franchise is a privilege, which can be taken away by the government. 

"Having a franchise doesn't give you a free hand, a carte blache. No, it's a privilege which can be taken away from you," Jacinto said in an interview with ANC's Future Perfect. 

Rio also said that Jacinto's insistence on selecting just two common tower companies is being questioned by Philippine Competition Commission.

Jacinto meanwhile said he will "give his side" to the PCC. 

When asked about the target date for the roll out of new telecommunications towers, Jacinto said building could "hopefully" start anywhere from the second quarter to the last quarter of the year. 

Jacinto insisted that a common tower policy will be a "win-win" for both existing telcos and the incoming third player. 

A Filipino-Chinese consortium led by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy was selected by the government last year as the third major telco that will challenge PLDT and Globe.