Duterte Threatens to Shut Down Globe, Smart

President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to close down telco giants Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, unless their services improve.By Aika Rey, Rappler.com
July 27, 2020

In his 5th State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 27, President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to close down telco giants Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, unless their services improve by December.

Duterte talked about taking public utilities – “whether it may be the airwaves [or] the lines” – back to the government, which would be given the first option to utilize them.

“If you are not ready to improve, I might just as well close all of you and revert back to the line telephone. At kukunin ko ‘yan, i-expropriate ko sa gobyerno. ‘Yung Smart, pati ‘yung Globe, ilang taon na ito? At ang sagot palagi sa akin, ‘The party cannot be reached.’ Eh kung gano’n lang naman, ibigay ninyo sa amin,” Duterte said.

(If you are not ready to improve, I might just as well close all of you and revert back to the line, telephone. I will take that and expropriate it for the government. Smart and Globe, how many years have they been running? I was always told, “The party cannot be reached.” Well, if that’s the case, just give it back to us.)

This is not the first time that the President ranted about the services of the two telcos.

In 2016, Duterte said Globe and Smart should improve their services, or else he will “go to China.” And he did – as the winning bidder for the 3rd telcoDito Telecommunity, is backed by China Telecommunications Corporation. Dito is led by businessman Dennis Uy, one of Duterte’s campaign donors in the 2016 elections.

Globe and PLDT Incorporated control 7 of the submarine cable landing sites in the Philippines, which are linked to overseas connections. Smart is PLDT’s wireless subsidiary.

Both Globe and PLDT are building new landing sites – 1 for Globe and 3 more for PLDT. Building the infrastructure, however, takes time, as the laying of submarine cables would take about a year to a year and a half.

The National Telecommunications Commission is also expecting full capacity to be reached within 3 years’ time.

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