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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

"I was defending press freedom," Drilon says; Globe says they're improving their network

Drilon, Globe, cause-oriented groups react to President Rodrigo Duterte’s SONA

MANILA – Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon took exception of President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement that the lawmaker was defending oligarchs.

“I was defending freedom of the press, not the Lopezes. The closure of ABS-CBN sent a chilling effect,” the minority leader said in a statement.

He added he has said it before “for democracy to thrive free press is important and that journalists be allowed to exercise complete freedom to do their mandate of reporting facts without fear.”

He added in a pandemic, the people needs more access to information as he aired his support for the giant radio-television network’s franchise renewal “because undeniably the network complements other stations in providing timely and accurate reportage even in the farthest locality unreachable by others, even with the government.”

“I was defending the 11,000 people and their families who would lose jobs amid the pandemic, not the Lopezes,” Drilon concluded.

Meanwhile, Globe Telecom Inc. said they heed President Duterte’s call ti improve telco services.

In a statement, the telecom giant said service performance and increased consumer demand for data are the reasons why they have been investing billions of dollars to upgrade and improve their network.

“This year Globe has earmarked US$1.2 billion in capex, majority of which goes to network and capacity builds,” the statement revealed. The investments are paying off because they have experienced marked service improvements.

Globe said they are running at 4G/LTE and last year, they launched 5G for Globe At Home and soon they will launch their 5G mobile services across the country. The telecom giant claimed they are being cited for the improved internet experience and an independent mobile analytics Open Signal ranked the Philippines as the 4th most improved country in mobile video experience and that the ranking was included in the State of Mobile Network Experience in 2020 report.

They identified one of the challenges they face is what they described as “long drawn” permitting process from local government units, homeowners associations and national agencies which include the Department of Health and Civil Aeronautics Administration of the Philippines which all affected their cellsite construction activities and the installation of fiber to homes.

They expressed hope with the Joint Memorandum Circular 01 s.2020 led by the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) with other national agencies to fast tract the construction of telco towers will lead the way for a more robust connectivity in the Philippines and provide internet services to every Filipino.

In their statement, Globe said during this pandemic, they have actively supported public and private hospitals, quarantine facilities and front liners.

“We are working with the Department of Education to assist the sector through low cost data plans and devices as well as teacher training, online platforms and mental health support,” the statement disclosed.

They added they have poured P1.3 billion in combined services and assistance package for COVID-19 where customers benefitted through services, promos, monetary and in-kind donations.

Karapatan, a Human Rights group said President Duterte cannot evade his human rights obligations by opting out of the Rome Statue when an investigation into his alleged crimes began.

The group asks why the chief executive continues to malign and undermine the United Nations Special Procedures seeking to visit and investigate the human rights violations in the country. They also asked why United Nations High Commissioner Bachelet to directly talk to the victims.

The said human rights obligations are not concepts written on paper as “human and people’s rights should be respected, protected and realized in the daily lives of the people. They also accused the government for propagating fake news when he said there were no abuses when Martial Law was declared in Mindanao, They accused paramilitary operatives in the killing of indigenous people’s leaders along with the disappearance of one of their workers since November 2019.

Magdalo Party-List Rep. Manuel Cabochan III said President Duterte’s 5th SONA had very few important updates, some ore promises, bloated drug problem, defeatist stance in the West Philippine Sea, with fear-mongering and ramblings against the opposition.

“The COVID-19 was not given the commensurate attention it needs considering that it is the most urgent program right now,” Cabochan said in a statement. He added there were few economic recovery measures mentioned.

The address failed to realize the struggles that ordinary Filipinos experience these days as “many Filipinos are hungry, begging for daily sustenance, stranded in risky environments, and have no livelihood due to the government’s incompetence.” (Melo M. Acuña)

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon. (File Photo/Melo M. Acuna)

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