DOTC chief breaks silence, says NBN project is for the benefit of the Filipino people
Manila (19 September) -- Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza broke his silence Tuesday evening on the government's national broadband network (NBN) project, stressing it is "above-board and is for the benefit of the Filipino people."
Mendoza finally issued a comment on the broadband project after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered him yesterday morning to justify the project before the Supreme Court, "where there is no politicking."
The President's directive to Mendoza was issued during the National Economic and Development Authority Board (NEDA) Meeting in Malacaņang.
"Our lawyers and the Solicitor General are preparing our comments on the petition filed before the Supreme Court," Mendoza said.
He added that the issue has been highly politicized and that the President was right when she directed him to prioritize the court case rather than explain to the Senate.
Mendoza also said that given the chance to explain the NBN project outside the SC hearings, "I would demonstrate that the project went through the legal process and is above-board and is for the benefit of the Filipino people."
The DOTC chief also said businessman Jose de Venecia III was only criticizing the project because he lost in the bidding.
"I read the affidavit of Joey de Venecia and heard his testimony before the Senate. Neither changed my view that despite his well-rehearsed attempt at melodrama at the Senate, he is still a sore loser," Mendoza said.
The President has said that it is in the court that 'there is no politics and evidence is the basis of the processes in the court."
She added that it is in the court "that the issue of whether the deal is in accord with the law and the welfare of the people will be judged correctly."
The project was planned to exclusively cater to the needs of the National Government and the local government units in accordance with the policies laid out in the Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP 2004-2020).
The NBN is part of a bigger effort to develop a digital infrastructure to provide public access points for delivery of e-government services.
The plan also identifies measures to make cheaper and more accessible the digital infrastructure across the country through lower connectivity costs, regulatory reforms, and development of the human resource skills to support the information and communication technology (ICT)-related services. (PNA) [top]