India ‘interested’ to enter PH telco industry: Duterte

MANILA — President Rodrigo R. Duterte said Tuesday night that India is “interested” to be a new major player in the Philippine telecommunications industry.

“India is also interested to enter into the telecom industry. And we are considering,” Duterte said during the induction of the new board of directors of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Inc. in Malacañang Palace.

Duterte said he had invited India to invest in the local telco industry in talks with Indian businessmen during his official visit there last month.

He said he wants to fast-track the entry of a third player by March this year to improve telco services in the country and promote competition.

The President, however, urged Indian businessmen to also report cases of corruption.

“I have opened up the third frequency for telecommunication, telecoms. If you are the representative there, you can always go to them and discuss business. But if you are asked to shell out money or there is a transaction, which involves corruption for a favor or for a permit, then let me know,” Duterte said.

“Unless you are ready to give it, then just shut up because it’s yours. But you are not supposed to spend for anything unless it’s part of the official fees and the collections of government, regulatory fees most of it,” he added.

Ease of doing business

Duterte, meanwhile assured Indian businessmen that there would be ease of doing business in the Philippines.

“You are in business. I just would want to tell you that as much as possible, we want you to be comfortable. There’s an ease of doing business and I am here, your President, whether you’re a national because I am the President here,” he said.

The President said he would also assure them that the government continues to work towards eliminating corruption and red tape.

“I am only giving my department secretaries one month, and the directors, two weeks. And if they do not comply with that, then we talk and we go separate ways,” he said.

Duterte also said he would protect them from corruption so long as they pay their taxes.

“I would want again to assure you that we are here to invite you, to protect you. And I said, just do the right thing, pay the right taxes and you are freed,” he said.

“As long as you pay the right taxes, just the exact price, no more, no less, then you are freed of any interventions or trouble. That is the assurance that I will give you,” Duterte added.