NOW un­fazed by failed TRO, pur­sues bid for 3rd telco slot

The Philippine Star - - BUSINESS - By RICH­MOND MER­CU­RIO

NOW Tele­com re­mains bent on vy­ing for the coun­try’s third telco slot even as it failed to se­cure a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing order (TRO) against the se­lec­tion process for the new ma­jor telco player.

The com­pany said all bids must be pre­sented to Pres­i­dent Duterte in­stead of the Na­tional Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sions (NTC).

“We want to make it clear that with or with­out the TRO, NOW Tele­com is com­mit­ted to bid for the right to be the third telco. We be­lieve in our re­solve and ca­pac­ity to pro­vide true and bet­ter telco ser­vice to the Filipino peo­ple,” the com­pany said.

“As we stated be­fore, we do not want to de­lay the se­lec­tion of the new ma­jor player. What we want is for the bids to be pre­sented on Nov. 7 to Pres­i­dent Duterte him­self, be­cause we be­lieve that he has the po­lit­i­cal will to re­move all pro­vi­sions in the terms of ref­er­ence that are oner­ous, con­fis­ca­tory and po­ten­tially ex­tor­tionary, and that he has the moral as­cen­dancy to choose the most de­serv­ing can­di­date,” it added.

The Manila Re­gional Trial Court on Fri­day de­nied NOW Tele­com’s re­quest for the is­suance of a TRO.

NOW said it would ar­gue the mer­its of its po­si­tion when it ap­pears be­fore the court dur­ing the hear­ings for its re­quest for a pre­lim­i­nary in­junc­tion on Oct. 23 and 24.

“We re­main firm in ques­tion­ing the in­ser­tion of new re­quire­ments in the terms of ref­er­ence for the new ma­jor player se­lec­tion process par­tic­u­larly the P700 mil­lion par­tic­i­pa­tion se­cu­rity, the P14 bil­lion to P24 bil­lion per­for­mance se­cu­rity, and a P10 mil­lion non-re­fund­able per ap­peal fee which we be­lieve are a vi­o­la­tion of the law and serve as bar­ri­ers to en­try in the bid­ding process,” NOW said.

“We don’t know when this fight would end, but ev­ery­one knows this is not a one-time, big-time, overnight kind of strug­gle. This fight is not for the faint of heart. But re­mem­ber, re­wards are aplenty — only if you fight. If you don’t, you’ve al­ready lost,” the firm added.

NOW said it has been “fighting for its rights” with the NTC for over a decade af­ter it ac­quired its fre­quency rights in 2006 and was awarded its cel­lu­lar mo­bile tele­phony li­cense sys­tem in 2013 through quasi-ju­di­cial hear­ings.

“We are res­o­lute in fighting for what we be­lieve is right and just. We con­tinue to be bullish and op­ti­mistic that Filipino en­trepreneurs will be given a break in our fight against bar­ri­ers that tend to fa­vor the big­ger cor­po­ra­tions. We be­lieve the Duterte ad­min­is­tra­tion can make it hap­pen,” it said.

In a spe­cial meet­ing of its board of direc­tors on Thurs­day, NOW said its board ap­proved the con­ver­sion of P209 mil­lion in ad­vances by its ma­jor share­holder Mel Ve­larde into eq­uity.

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