MALACAÑANG seemed keen on the idea of throwing out its contract with a foreign contractor for its failure to deliver free WiFi in select public areas.
In a press briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that President Rodrigo Duterte is not pleased with the way contractor Speedcast Customs has been faring four years after the President approved the project.
Citing government data, Roque said the foreign contractor was only able to deliver free internet access to 10,000 of the government’s 120,000 target sites.
“Siyempre po, hindi tayo happy. Ang pangako natin, libreng WiFi sa lahat. Dapat magkaroon pa rin ‘yan ng katuparan sa administrasyon ni President Duterte, and we have one year to go.”
He added that the President is seriously considering the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to take over the job, even as he claimed that the agency was able to install more WiFi in five times more sites in just a year as compared to what has been delivered by the Speedcast Customs until 2019.
“Ang posisyon po talaga ng Presidente at DICT ay itigil na ang involvement nitong current contractor na foreign… at ibalik na ang pera na naibayad na sa kanila dahil pupuwede na pong ipagpatuloy ‘yan ng DICT,” he said.
“Kailangan double time talaga… Pero sa bilis naman po ng galaw ng DICT ngayon, we have confidence that we can meet at least close to the target if not 110,000 sites,” he added.
Interestingly, the contractor being referred to by the Palace mouthpiece is also the subject of an investigation over allegations of smuggling and bribery.