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Drilon grills Mislatel over controversial franchise holder

Mislatel consortium's eligibility as the third telco winner was questioned anew amid its congressional franchise holder’s alleged violations.

Drilon grills Mislatel over controversial franchise holder
Drilon grills Mislatel

Senator Drilon puts Mislatel in hot water

Backed by businessman Dennis Uy and China Telecommunications, the new major player faced another hurdle during a Senate hearing on Thursday, January 24.
DICT's Eliseo Rio Jr. present at the Senate inquiry on third telco
DICT's Eliseo Rio Jr. present at the Senate inquiry on third telco

Senator Franklin Drilon sought to revoke the congressional franchise of Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company (Mislatel) for failing to operate within a year after the franchise was granted in April 1998. 

The franchise is a privilege and one of the condition is you must operate within one year and operate continuously. Mislatel is basically a paper corporation, Drilon said. 

Nicanor Escalente, Mislatel president and chief executive officer, admitted it failed to deploy telco services.

Related: Mislatel says franchise is valid in Senate third telco hearing

However, he argued that in 2001 the Mindanao-based firm was given the green light to roll out services in Parang, Maguindanao, but the issue in peace and order in the area hampered the plan. 

[Its] franchise is ipso facto (by the fact itself) revoked, Drilon insisted. You would agree with me that the franchise of Mislatel is revoked for failure to operate.

Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Eliseo Rio Jr., meanwhile, said that the court would decide on the matter. 

But once proven and Mislatel's franchise be revoked, Rio said the government may conduct another bidding process as no other bidders last November qualified for the status.  

Mislatel consortium has until February 17 to finalize performance security bond, detailed roll-out plan for five years, formalize its organizations, register at the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), and secure approval from the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

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