DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The Philippine government is finalizing plan to open up the information and communication technology or ICT industry to new players in a bid to promote competitiveness and improve the quality of service.

“The only way to make this country move faster to benefit the poor is really to open up communications, the airwaves and the entire energy sector,” said President Rodrigo Duterte in his arrival speech from his first attendance to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting held in Lima, Peru, late Thursday night.

Duterte said he will open the country to free it from the hands of a few players.

“My decision now at this moment is bubuksan ko ang Pilipinas or else you can count with your fingers on one hand the power players of this country,” Duterte said.

“It’s about time that they share the money of the entire country, and to move faster make competition open to all,” the President said.

He also said the government is now looking into the regulatory requirements and arrangements to hasten the entry of new players in the power and energy industry.

He said a more vibrant power industry will enable the Philippines to participate in the global market with competitive edge.

Duterte said during the meeting with trade partners at the APEC meeting, many countries expressed interest in investing in the ICT and energy industries.

“Magbaha yan dito (investments will flood here), China and everybody,” he said, adding energy is “really a big money.”

However, Duterte said he does not intend to quarrel with the multi-billionaires in the industry and mentioned the names of Ayala and Pangilinan.

“I am not trying to destroy you, you have the advantage you are here already. Be content with that. Okay na yan para sa inyo, but let us open everything para matapos na itong kalbaryo ng Pilipino (That should be okay with you, let us open everything to stop the suffering of the Filipinos),” he said.

According to Forbes’ Philippines’ 50 Richest People, Jaime Zobel de Ayala and his family ranked 7th  in 2016, rising a step higher from 8th spot in 2015. De Ayala posted a net worth of $4.1 billion. His family’s Ayala Corporation profited $475 million in 2015. Their business includes banking, real estate, hotels, telecommunications, utilities and education.

Meanwhile, Manuel Pangilinan is chief executive of the First Pacific which is a Hong Kong-based investment management and holding company.

In 2015, Pangilinan became President and Chief Executive Officer of PLDT and Smart.

Pangilinan is the chairman of PLDT Inc., Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), First Coconut Manufacturing Inc. (FCMI), Manila Electric Company (Meralco), ePLDT, Inc., Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), PLDT Communications and Energy Ventures, Inc. (formerly named Pilipino Telephone Corporation), Maynilad Water Services, Inc., Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation, Manila North Tollways Corporation, Philex Mining Corporation, PXP Energy Corporation, Landco Pacific Corporation, Medical Doctors, Inc. (Makati Medical Center), Davao Doctors, Inc. and Colinas Verdes Corporation (Cardinal Santos Medical Center), Mediaquest Holdings, Inc. and Associated Broadcasting Corporation (TV 5), and the Vice Chairman of Roxas Holdings, Inc. (davaotoday.com)

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