THE Senate committee on public services will resume next week its hearing on the selection process for third entrant into the telecommunications industry, the so-called “third player.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Senator Grace S. Poe-Llamanzares, who chairs the committee, said the hearing will focus on the details that led to the selection of the Mislatel Group as the third player.
“Next week, we will resume our public hearing on the third telco and we will use the opportunity to delve into the details of the decision to choose Mislatel,” she said.
The Senate hearing was earlier scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 22 but was later cancelled due to the unavailability of government officials due to the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“Because of (the) State Visit, we had to move the date and make sure government officials are available,” the senator said in a text message to reporters.
The government on Monday declared the Mislatel Group of China Telecommunications Corp., Dennis A. Uy’s Udenna Corp. and Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp., as well as Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, Inc. (Mislatel) as the telecom industry’s third player.
Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. has said Mislatel could launch commercial operations in mid-2019.
Ms. Poe-Llamanzares said the committee will hear from the DICT, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), and Mislatel officials on the services to be offered to the public by the third player.
Experts will also weigh in on national security issues due to the presence of a foreign telco in the winning consortium.
“While we have been assured by the NTC and the DICT that the selection process was without bias, we cannot be remiss on our duty and mandate to look into the matter,” Ms. Poe-Llamanzares said.
“We should also take note that it is a requirement under our laws that the third telco or its Filipino partner must secure a congressional franchise. In the end, transparency, accountability and integrity are always the benchmark for government projects and undertaking,” she added. — Camille A. Aguinaldo