Solons: RJ’s towercos duopoly bid a poll issue

March 01, 2019
Ramon Jacinto

THE much-questioned common tower duopoly being pushed by Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs Ramon Jacinto looms as a likely election issue, according to lawmakers.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said the towercos duopoly proposal of Jacinto will certainly affect the Senate bets of President Rodrigo Duterte in the coming elections.

He said the voters don’t support the idea of limiting to two the number of private companies that would be allowed  to build cell towers in the country.

“Bawas boto ‘yan sa mga kandidato ng Pangulo sa Senado. Alam kasi ng mga tao na ilegal ‘yan,” said Evardone.

Anakpawis partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao and Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Winston Castelo also said the voters would not allow towercos duopoly backers to be elected.

According to Casilao, the voters know that the towercos proposal of Jacinto would not do them any good as this would affect their services aside from the fact that it would dictate on the price of their services.

“These two new independent players that will be tapped to carry out the implementation of the common tower policy will just dictate on the price of their services which may be very disadvantageous to the public interest, and that is really very unfortunate,” said Casilao.

Even the advocacy groups and civil society expressed their negative sentiments against RJ’s intransigence.

The Filipino League of Advocates for Good Governance (FLAG) filed, a couple of months ago, a case against RJ for “conflict of interest and for illegally pushing for a duopoly in the tower construction of an estimated 50,000 cell towers to serve around 113 million telco subscribers in the country.”

FLAG founder Ed Cordevilla filed the complaint against RJ before the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission saying that of the two violations, one against the Philippine Competition Act, RA 10667 and the other, against RA 6713, the latter is more glaring and bound to be an election issue.

“Presidential Adviser Ramon Jacinto is violating RA 6713, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employee, specifically Section 7a, which states that public officials and employees shall not directly or indirectly have any financial or material interest in any transaction requiring the approval of their office”.