Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said that the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, Inc.’s (Mislatel) franchise is “deemed revoked” due to violations. That’s after months after it was hailed as the provisional third telco player in the country.
In a Senate hearing held last Thursday, Drilon stated that Mislatel’s franchise “shall be deemed ipso facto revoked” as it failed to comply with the specified conditions.
For one, Mislatel should have started operations within one year from the issuance of the permit by the National Telecommunications Commission. They should have also operated continuously for two years.
Drilon said that Mislatel failed to comply on the said conditions, making their franchise’s validity doubtful.
Nicanor Escalante, Mislatel’s President and CEO, answered by saying that new shareholders were acquired by the company back in 2015, that’s why there has been “no actual operation” from the company.
Mislatel was granted to operate in Parang, Maguindanao. But as per Escalante, the peace and order situation in the said location prevented them from initializing the operations. However, Drilon pointed out that they could have just operated somewhere else.
Drilon also grilled Escalante for their failure to get the approval of the Congress when it got 70% of the shares in 2015. Which breaks the Section 15 of the franchise, stating that they need to seek congressional approval before any sale, lease, or transfer of control.
Escalante countered by saying that they were only invited as an additional shareholder. Thus, no need to seek for the Congress’ approval.
Eliseo Rio, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) chief, assured Drilon and the other present senators that Mislatel’s status of becoming the third major telco provider can be terminated once their franchise is proven invalid.
At a press briefing held in the Malacanang Palace, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that the government can look for another company to be the third telco player if Mislatel is declared ineligible.