PCCI urges thorough, transparent review of Philippines’s broadband contract with China firm

May. 29, 2007

MANILA — The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) is calling for a thorough and transparent review of governments contract for the installation of a broadband network.

The contract created mixed reactions from the public and from various institutions and organizations, that, a more thorough, public review may be warranted, for the sake of demonstrating good faith from our institutions and agencies and calm the growing questions on its appropriateness and timeliness. This will ensure sound economic, technological basis for our financial commitments and guarantees, PCCI said in a statement.

PCCI noted, per its preliminary analyses of what is publicly known of the general outlines of the contracts, it would appear that the government may be able to achieve optimal benefits for the objectives of using technologies for government efficiency and education, at a more affordable and reasonable cost, without commitments to technologies that the industry expects to drop drastically in price very soon.

Given that we charge relatively higher communication rates in ASEAN, at the same time, the only country raising overall rates instead of lowering them, we need to be very careful with how we allocate our resources, the PCCI statement said.

Having in mind the need to improve our competitiveness that will eventually translate to lower cost of doing business, makes it very clear of our responsibility to at least review the contracts, and make the best possible deal out of them. Even if financing terms are soft, a project should still be examined on its merits as it will have substantial implications to our countrys debt burdens that are passed on to our children, the statement suggested.

Samie Lim, PCCI president said, governments vision of computerizing and creating a national communication network between government agencies, educational institutions, and other entities is clearly a positive, exciting, and very important initiative. It will have wide ranging impact on the efficiency, transparency, and development of the whole country in all sectors. Let us get all related and expert organizations together to work towards this landmark undertaking.

At the same time, PCCI rallies the countrys biggest telecommunications companies to work extensively in reducing the cost of communications, to administer a more conducive and viable telecommunications sector at par with global competition and technology penetration.

PCCI is ready and willing to help coordinate with government and private companies, in formulating measures and developing benchmarks for comparative system and cost studies, adjusted for the fast moving technologies in the world today, Lim noted.

Approaching the visionary objective of convergence and connectivity aimed at improving the countrys communications infrastructure to benefit various segments of the society, PCCI calls on both government and private companies to develop a coalition to work out a more economically viable, detailed and comprehensive plan, and execute such, to help improve the countrys global competitiveness.

PCCI is a non-stock, non profit organization comprised of 1,200 direct members, 98 local chambers, 122 industry associations, and 30 foreign business councils, all working together for more vibrant Philippine economy, and to improve the viability of businesses in the country.

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