Greetings of solidarity!
It cannot be denied that the country’s telecommunications sector continues one of the most dynamic in the Philippine economy. Aside from being immensely profitable, it is one of the sectors in which citizens and consumers, who comprise a market which covers more than 90% of the population, have very personal stakes, for who does not have a mobile phone in this age of information and communications.
The recent blockbuster PhP 74.1 Billion agreement between PLDT and Digitel which paved the way for the market leader to absorb the #3 mobile operator has sent tremors around and beyond the industry. Was this an instance of the Market disciplining itself through consolidation? Or was this an instance of significant market players exhibiting monopolistic behavior in a way which would disadvantage consumers now or in the future? What, if any, should be the role of government as regulator in this and similar instances? What will be the effect on consumer services in particular and the public interest in general?
These are some of the questions that are to be raised in a Public Forum entitled: “The PLDT-Digitel Deal and Beyond: Public Interest Implications and Alternatives”, to be held on Monday, 11 April 2011 from 1:00 to 5:00 pm at the Case Room of the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG), Diliman Quezon City.
We are inviting telecom players, government representatives, researchers and academics, as well as civil society organizations to discuss and debate the merits and implications of this landmark deal in this forum organized by the Foundation for Media Alternatives, the Philippine ICT Researchers Network, Philippine Cyberparty, and TxtPower.