Malacañang on Tuesday urged executives of telco giants Globe and Smart to discuss with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) their plans on how to improve their services.

President Rodrigo Duterte during his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Monday threatened to shut down the telcos and seize their facilities if they did not improve their services by December.

Asked if Duterte was willing to sit down with executives of the two telcos, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said the companies should reach out to the NTC instead.

“Nandiyan naman po ang NTC, ang regulatory body para makausap nila,” Roque said during a Malacañang briefing.

Roque said a meeting with the president was not necessary.

“I don’t think it is without prejudice to meeting with them kung gusto nila. Pero ang importante, meeting or no meeting, pagbutihin ang serbisyo,” he said.

Duterte did not present criteria as to how he would measure the improvement in the telcos’ services during his SONA.

Roque, however, said the NTC had set benchmarks, such as the amount of dropped calls and call clarity and quality.

“Alam naman po natin kung gaano kaimportante ang komunikasyon sa panahong ito, pati nga po internet, karapatang pantao na rin,” Roque said.

“Iyon pong ninanais ng Presidente, kumikita naman ang mga telcos, dapat mabuting serbisyo ang binibigay nila,” he said.

An index by speedtest.net, an internet speed benchmarking site, ranked the Philippines 114th among 138 countries in mobile internet speeds and 108th among 171 countries in broadband internet speeds. John Ezekiel J. Hirro