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DICT’s Rio confirms he will resign if gov’t chooses auction to decide 3rd telco

Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. on Monday confirmed that he will resign if the government pushes through with its plan to auction out frequencies as a way of determining the country's third major telecommunications company.

"Sabi ko, kung hindi ko rin makuha 'yung what I think is right, I don't want to be part of a process na I'm sure will fail kaya sabi ko, I will resign kung 'yun 'yung mapili," he said in an interview on GMA's "Dobol B sa News TV."

He was referring to the terms of reference (TOR) which will be used for the government in selecting the third telco player in the country.

One of the options is to auction out unassigned frequencies to the possible players, which has been pushed by the Department of Finance (DOF).

Rio earlier said that this way of choosing the third telecom player will only benefit the incumbent players Globe Telecom Inc. and PLDT Inc., as the new entrant would be prompted to recover the cost from its customers.

"Bakit dito natin isa-subject sa third telco player 'yung frequencies na pinagpilian ng Globe and Smart? 'Yun pa ibebenta natin," said Rio.

Rio said it would be better to go with the highest committed level of service option where companies will be required to come up with a five-year plan with a capital expenditure of at least P40 billion a year.

"Dapat kung ano ico-commit niyang serbisyo, ano ico-commit niyang speed ng internet niya at kung hindi niya magawa ay mayroon siyang penalty," he explained.

The same option was also preferred by stakeholders of the telco industry, who also noted that an auction would only add more financial burden to the new player.

According to Rio, the final TOR will be decided upon on Friday during a meeting of the oversight committee.

"Sa Biyernes, tatawag ho kami ng meeting sa oversight committee para we can move forward with a timeline," he said.

"Ito ho ay more or less settled na, so we will have a final meeting para mapag-usapan na ito lahat, magkaroon na ng timeline, magkaroon na kung kailan talaga papasok ang third player," he explained.

Asked to elaborate on his threat to resign, Rio said it was meant to be a private message to an individual who posted it online, and was then picked up by media.

"May nagtanong ho kasi sa akin sa Facebook ko, 'yung private messenger. Hindi dapat public 'yung tanong. Hindi ko naman akalain na ipo-post niya 'yun sa public," he said.

Rio added, however, that he stands by what he said. — BM, GMA News