Indian firm wants to join PH telco market — Duterte

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President Rodrigo R. Duterte greets the officers of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (Phil.), Inc. during the induction ceremony of their new Board of Directors at the Malacañan Palace on Feb. 20, 2018. --PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

By Arjay L. Balinbin

President Rodrigo R. Duterte announced on Tuesday, Feb. 20, that an Indian firm is seeking to invest in the Philippines’ telecommunications industry.

“So, we now talk about why we are here. Most of you are here because you are in business. And in this world of big business now, most of you or some of you are already in the Philippines, even in the construction business. There’s a new application from an Indian company,” Mr. Duterte said during his speech at the induction ceremony of the new board of directors of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Phils. Inc. (FICCI) held at the Malacañan Palace on Tuesday evening.

He added: “India is also interested to enter into the telecom industry, and we are considering… I invited them during my talks with the businessmen in India during my official visit.”

The selection of a third telecommunications service provider is one of the top priorities of Mr. Duterte’s administration for the first quarter of the year.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has recently released the draft criteria for the selection of the third telco player, and it is set to be presented to the stakeholders in a consultation on Feb. 27.

Also during his speech, the President reminded the Filipino-Indian businessmen that he has “opened up the third frequency for telecommunications.”

“If you are the representative there, you can always go to them and discuss business. But if you are asked to shell out money or there is a transaction which involves corruption for a favor or for a permit, then let me know,” Mr. Duterte said. “Unless you are ready to give it, then just shut up because it’s yours. But you are not supposed to spend for anything unless it’s part of the official fees and the collections of government, regulatory fees most of it.”