Duterte to open telecom, power industries to foreigners

Giovanni Nilles, - The Philippine Star
Duterte to open telecom, power industries to foreigners
President Duterte plans to open telecommunications, energy as well as information and communication technology to more players, including foreigners, to improve competitiveness in these three industries.
AP Photo / Aaron Favila

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President Duterte plans to open telecommunications, energy as well as information and communication technology to more players, including foreigners, to improve competitiveness in these three industries.

Speaking at the Davao International Airport upon arrival from New Zealand on Wednesday night, Duterte said the only way to make the poor benefit faster from government policies would be “to open up communications, the airwaves and the entire energy sector.”

Duterte attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, Peru via New Zealand last week. He digressed from his prepared speech about the summit to discuss his plan to “open up the Philippines.”

Duterte said the government was now looking into “regulatory requirements and institutional arrangements to hasten the entry of new players in the power industry and energy sector.” 

“The Philippines acknowledges the significant role of more vibrant telecommunication and power industries to be able to participate in the global market with a competitive edge,” Duterte said. 

“In the area of communications, we’re finalizing our plans to open up information and communications technology industry to new players in order to promote competitiveness and improve quality of service,” he said. 

In his engagement with foreign and business leaders, Duterte said he made it clear that the Philippines was now introducing economic and fiscal reforms as part of needed approach to make the country the world’s “top investment destination of choice.”

“My decision now is, this moment is, I will open up the Philippines. Or else you can count with your fingers in one hand, the power players of this country. I would not say that you are the elite because it would (have) another connotation,” Duterte said.

The President said aside from dealing with corruption, “I told them all (that) the only way for deliverance of this country is to remove it from the clutches of the few people who hold the power and money.”

“I’d just like to send this strong message… It’s about time that we share the money of the entire country and to move faster, make competition open to all,” he said.

Duterte said he did not “owe” anyone anything, apparently referring to businessmen. “That’s precisely (the reason why) I was avoiding you during the last election. Tabla tayo (We’re even),” he said. 

The President said he was aware that some businessmen contributed to his campaign. “Well and good. But I am not trying to destroy you… you have the advantage. You are here already. Be content with that. That should be enough for you.”

“But let us open everything para matapos na itong kalbaryo ng Pilipino (to end the calvary of the Filipino),” Duterte said.

Asked about possible investors, Duterte said: “Magbaha ‘yan dito (It will flood here). China… and everybody. Energy is really big money. That cellphone, I do not want to have a quarrel with the Ayalas and Pangilinan,” apparently referring to the Ayalas of Globe Telecom and businessman Manuel Pangilinan of Smart Telecommunications.

“The same protection (will be) given to all… Now, kung i-dive ninyo ‘yang presyo ninyo, walang problema (if your prices will dive, there will be no problem). I will forget my statement. I-dive mo lahat ‘yang charges niyo (Let all your charges dive)… eh mahal eh kaya (they’re expensive so)… then, I will let the others in until you say you are okay even if (the charges) are cheaper,” Duterte said.

He said corruption in government also stymied competition and this must stop or “we will always be at the mercy of the corrupt people in this planet.” 

“We do not monopolize government corruption. That problem is shared by the whole of the international arena,” Duterte said.

He asked those wanting to put up a business in the country to bring their documents to his office so he could personally submit them to concerned departments or agencies and wait for the needed action.

The President said, “I’d rather resign” and give the job to others if he could not do anything about the current system.


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