'Shape up': Gov't takeover of telcos possible, Sotto warns | Inquirer News
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After Duterte's warning

‘Shape up’: Gov’t takeover of telcos possible, Sotto warns

/ 09:44 AM July 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Following President Rodrigo Duterte’s warning during his State of the Nation Address, Senate President Vicente Sotto III advised the country’s biggest telecommunication companies to “shape up” and “seriously” heed the chief executive’s appeal to improve their services.

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“I will advise the telcos to shape up. They should seriously take up what the President said,” Sotto said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel on Tuesday.

The President, in his fifth State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday, warned PLDT Smart and Globe Telecom of government expropriation should they fail to improve their services by the end of the year.

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“You might not want what I intend to do with you. Kindly improve the services before December. I want to call Jesus Christ (in) Bethlehem, better have that line cleared,” the President had said.

Asked if government takeover of these companies is possible, Sotto said “there are ways of going about it.”

“There is a process. That is possible. The government can remove those franchises anytime with another bill or with another law,” he said.

“The President can do that,” he added.

Sotto, meanwhile, allayed fears that the President’s threat against the two main telcos in the country would spook foreign investors.

The President, he said, was just airing his disappointment with the services of the two telcos.

“I don’t think it was intended directly to foreign investors. It’s really a point directly headed towards these telcos.I feel talagang he’s so disappointed and he has people telling him that a lot of people are disappointed,” Sotto said.

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The Senate president added that he understands where Duterte is coming from in issuing the warning to the two telcos, citing the need to improve internet service in the country amid the “new normal.”

“You should shape up, and why? Because of that situation that we’re in. It’s not only the Philippines. The world is on fire,” he said.

“Therefore, what do we do about it? There’s this distance learning, we have to improve our internet, our networks and therefore you must shape up. That is the only way, otherwise  we’ll have difficulty coping with COVID-19,” Sotto added.

In a statement issued after Duterte’s speech, Globe said it remained an active partner of the government during the coronavirus crisis.

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TAGS: Nation, News, President Rodrigo Duterte, Senate President Tito Sotto, SONA 2020, telcos
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