President Duterte has said that inaction by government bureaucrats is preventing foreign internet service providers from operating in the Philippines.
He made the claim during an interview on state-run PTV-4 yesterday (Friday, September 29), when he lamented that the Philippines has some of the worst internet speeds in Southeast Asia.
The president pointed the finger at the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for dragging its feet.
He also said that opening the market to foreign telecommunications players would bring better and cheaper internet to the country.
“I know,” he said. “That is why I was hurrying up a competition. The only way to improve your service is if I give you competition. Or if there are only two of you, you would come into terms.”
The president said that if there were only two companies in the business, they could set prices and control the market.
Philippines internet inaction
He also said there were foreign companies who had expressed interest in operating in the country.
“The proposals were already in his office. I don’t know how many are there,” he said, referring to the office of then-DICT chief Rodolfo Salalima.
“There’s a Chinese company. There are also American companies but nothing happened because there was no action,” he added.
The president said he would have understood if Salalima just released the papers if he couldn’t act on them so if the papers, by chance, reach him, he would have been able to read them.
“I told the Cabinet, ‘One month. If you can’t act on it, release the papers,’ tell me that, ‘We cannot give this to you. We are sorry but…’ Put it there so if it reaches me, I will be able to read it,” he said.
“You can’t just let those papers sit inside your office. I will always support you,” he added.