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put on the spot, in the middle of a briefing

Roque phones telco bosses for One Hospital Command’s phone lines

/ 04:23 PM August 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque put telecommunications bosses Manny Pangilinan of PLDT, Inc. and Fernando Zobel de Ayala of Globe Telecom on the spot during his Monday’s Palace press briefing to request for additional phone lines for the government’s One Hospital Command.

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While taking questions from the media, Roque phoned the two businessmen and put them on speaker after Health Undersecretary Leopoldo “Bong” Vega, the government’s designated treatment czar, reported that more phone lines are needed for the One Hospital Command.

The One Hospital Command facilitates the referral system among hospitals and also takes queries and requests from the public concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Talking to Zobel, Roque said: “Sir, earlier we had Usec. Vega on the line doon sa One Hospital Command Center, medyo mahirap lang daw po makontak dahil puro cellular phones lang daw po ang gamit. Can we request po Globe for additional lines for the One Hospital Command Center Sir?”

Zobel, who is also President and Chief Operating Officer of the Ayala Corporation, told Roque that someone from Globe will coordinate with his office regarding the request.

Pangilinan, meanwhile, also committed to acting on Roque’s request.

The Palace official also took the time to thank the PLDT chair for his P45 million worth of equipment donation to the East Avenue Medical Center.

“More to come Mr. Secretary,” Pangilinan answered.

During his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last month, President Rodrigo Duterte warned the two telecommunication companies in the to shape up and improve their services by December or face expropriation.

“Maghanap kayo because if you are not ready to improve, I might just as well close all of you and we revert back to the line telephone at kukunin ko yan, ieexpropriate ko,” Duterte said in his 5th SONA.

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“I’ll be straight. Smart pati itong Globe, ilang taon na ito? At ang sagot palagi sa akin, the party cannot be reached. Edi saan pala pumunta yung yawa na iyon?” he added.

Consequently, the water businesses of Pangilinan and the Ayalas had also drawn the ire of the President.

In December 2019, Duterte publicly lambasted Manila Water Co., a subsidiary of the Ayala family’s Ayala Corp., and the Pangilinan-led Maynilad Water Services for supposedly entering into onerous water concession agreements with the government. He even threatened to have the businessmen behind the firms jailed for economic sabotage.

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TAGS: Ayala, Globe, Malacañang, Manny Pangilinan, One Hospital Command, Philippines, PLDT, Rodrigo Duterte, water concessionaires
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