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Poe out to fight 1-tower plan in court

/ 05:08 AM January 11, 2019

Sen. Grace Poe on Thursday said she was willing to go to court to challenge the common-tower policy proposal of presidential adviser Ramon Jacinto that would allow only two independent companies to build cell sites in the country.

Poe described Jacinto’s proposal as anticompetition and counterproductive.

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If Jacinto, the presidential adviser on economic affairs and information technology communications, would insist on his position, Poe said she would take legal action to stop it.

“I will oppose that … You know, they say good things when they face us in the Senate, but they fail to follow through. [That] is why we will file a case because we need to stop these kinds of policies that I think would not be good for the people,” Poe said in a radio interview.

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Jacinto’s draft circular on common towers provides that a maximum of two independent tower companies may be registered by the National Telecommunications Commission in the first four years.

Legislative franchise

Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio of the Department of Information and Communications Technology said Jacinto’s proposal might violate the legislative franchise of telecommunications companies that allows them to build their own infrastructure.

The Philippine Competition Commission has also questioned the anticompetitive nature of the proposed policy.

Poe said the construction of much-needed cell sites would slow down if the government allowed only two companies to do it. The country lacks 45,000 cell towers, she said.

“Doesn’t the President want more competition, especially in cellular service, in order to bring down prices and to make it more efficient? What [Jacinto] is doing seems to be the opposite,” she said. —LEILA B. SALAVERRIA

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TAGS: 1-tower policy, cell sites, Grace Poe, Philippine news update, Ramon Jacinto
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