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Philippines says offer to open telecom sector not just for China

Duterte offered China the right to operate in the Philippines during bilateral talks

Andreo Calonzo & Cecilia Yap | Bloomberg 

Rodrigo Duterte. Photo: Reuters
Rodrigo Duterte. Photo: Reuters

The Philippines will open up its telecommunications sector to more foreign investors, and an invitation by President Rodrigo isn’t just for Chinese companies, Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said.
 
“The best offer would be picked from other offers as well,” Pernia told reporters on Saturday at a forum in Manila, when asked if only would be considered by the government. “is in the frontline now because no other country has sounded out or expressed interest to come in.”

 
Duterte, who has sought warmer ties with Beijing amid a territorial dispute between the two countries, offered the right to operate in the Southeast Asian nation during bilateral talks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang last month, Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said on November 20.
 
Duterte’s commitment to open up the sector has prompted local companies such as Philippine Telegraph & Telephone to start talks with China’s two biggest telecommunications provider to help challenge PLDT and Globe Telecom’s dominance. The two became the nation’s only wireless carriers when the San Miguel conglomerate sold its nascent wireless phone carrier to those companies for 70 billion pesos ($1.4 billion).
 
The president’s order for government agencies to act swiftly to ease foreign-investment limits is a first step toward opening up the telecommunications sector, according to Pernia. “There’s a lot of urgency to this,” he said, adding that better connectivity was a promise made during his election campaign.

First Published: Sun, December 03 2017. 00:46 IST
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