Rio: No common cell tower policy under my watch
MANILA, Philippines — Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. on Thursday vowed to block the proposed common tower policy for as long as he is at the helm of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).
At the hearing of the Senate committee on public services, presidential adviser Ramon “RJ” Jacinto insisted on his recommendation to limit the establishment of common towers in the country to only two operators in the first four years.
But Rio stood firm on his position against Jacinto’s proposal.
When the chair of the committee, Senator Grace Poe, asked if the proposal would be implemented, the DICT official said: “As long as I’m the Acting Secretary of the DICT, Ma’am, it will not be implemented.”
President Rodrigo Duterte has already appointed Senator Gringo Honasan as the new DICT Secretary but the latter has yet to assume the post.
“And I’m the one who is supposed to sign this policy. Hindi si RJ… ako po. Ako ho ‘yung dadalhin sa korte ng lahat ng mga mag-o-object nitong policy na ito. Hindi ho si RJ,” Rio stressed.
Poe agreed with Rio’s position, saying that a lot of her colleagues also believe the government should allow more players to come in.
“Just limiting it to two, nakakatakot ‘yan baka palpak ‘yung dalawa mas lalo pa tayong matagalan,” she said.
But Jacinto said his “authority” from Duterte was very clear: “I take charge of the guidelines and oversee its implementation through the NTC (National Telecommunications Commission), not even through the DICT…”
When Poe asked him, however, if the President signed on his recommendations, Jacinto said: “No, not yet.”
“But only the Cabinet can change it, not Secretary Rio,” he added.
At this point, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. told the committee that they would just come back with a final position after a Cabinet meeting. /kga