Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque bared that his office has been trying to get in touch with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to see if local telcos Smart Communications and Globe Telecom were able to upgrade their network services as President Rodrigo Duterte’s December deadline looms.

“Kinakailangan po natin ng kasagutan dito dahil ang NTC ang regulatory agency ng ating mga telcos, para malaman natin kung nagkaroon na nga ng improvement,” said Roque.

“Sa ngayon po, ang personal experience ko, wala pa rin pong pagbabago,” the Palace official remarked.

Stressing the importance of a better mobile connectivity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Roque raised the urgency of getting DITO Telecommunity to come on board.

DITO is the country’s China-backed third telco player owned by Davao-based billionaire businessman and Duterte ally Dennis Uy.

“Kinakailangan naman po talaga na makita natin ang pagbabago, at kinakailangan pong pumasok na iyong ating third telecoms player, ang DITO,” said Roque.

The Palace official noted that telcos have no more excuse for lousy services after the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act required local government units (LGUs) to fast-track the approval of permits that allow telcos to put up more cell sites nationwide.

“I would like to invite both companies to submit to us iyong mga bagong towers na naitayo na nila. And I really want them to commit kung kailan sila magkakaroon ng mas mabuting serbisyo,” he added.

In a previous briefing with Duterte, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año reported that more than 2,000 permits and clearances to build cell towers filed by telcos had been approved by LGUs.

The two top telcos said they’ve been ramping up 5G network services in the country. Globe has been eyeing at least 800 new towers between October-December alone, while Smart earlier committed up to 2,000 new cell sites in 2021.

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