Our dearest President Rodrigo Duterte has had his fair share of fame and hate after doing what he does. More so, a lot of people have been commenting on the fact that he is the best President while some say that he is somehow reviving the once-feared “Martial Law.” Now, he is still the news because he threatened to shut down the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) because he said that the company is not providing enough technical support that the country needs.
PLDT is the largest telecommunications company and he said that if it fails to add trunk lines to ensure that our citizens’ complaints to the famous “8888” hotline, he will decide to have the company shut down.
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Why does the President want this to happen?
It was apparent at a PDP-Laban campaign rally that happened in Cebu City that President Duterte noticed that the effectivity of the 8888 hotline was not at its maximum. He was discussing his and his Administration’s efforts to eradicate corruption in our country when he wanted a discussion on the efficiency of the complaint hotline. This was last Sunday, the 24th of February 2019 in Cebu City.
Duterte emphasized that if people see and notice corruption, they just need to call him at 8888.
If you see corruption, tell me. Call 8888. Bong [former Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go], add another trunk line. The present setup can’t accommodate all the calls. It’s always busy. Tell PLDT. If not, I’ll shut down their business.”
In addition to what he said, he also made a mention that what he is saying is true and legitimate. He even mentioned that the company owes him (the government) a bit of a fortune.
Oo, that’s true. I don’t want to brag, but they owe government eight billion [pesos]. No President has ever asked for payment. But when I became President, I said…”
What did the PLDT respond to the President’s requests?
When they heard about this, PLDT immediately took further and necessary steps to action this. The company said that it’s currently taking its steps to address our dearest President’s concern.
PLDT Head of Public Affairs, Ramon Isberto, said that they are currently working their ways to improve and to further enhance the 8888 hotline. This is so that the public can have more and better accesses to it.
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We are currently taking steps to address the concern expressed by the President to improve the public’s access to the Citizen’s Complaint Center 8888 hotline number.”
To give you some sort of a background, upon the start of the Duterte Administration, he implemented a hotline that would be similar to the 911. His, however, is a different thing and would answer a different concern. The 8888 hotline was established last 2016 and its goal is for the public to report and give notice to under-performing and corrupt government officials and projects.
Meaning, this hotline would somehow ease the public’s worry of being manhandled by corruption and mismanaged governance.
Senator Leila De Lima made a claim that the hotline was successful in serving a total of 54,743 calls. However, it failed to accommodate an astounding 1.4 million calls within the first five (5) months of the service (from 2016 August to 2016 December). Her reason? Because the service was “undermanned.”
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In spite of the promises made by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) that the service would be free of charge, De Lima made an accusations that there were some Filipinos who claimed the hotline to have charged P5.00 per minute.
While there is no charge if they call via landline, this program is still not accessible to all, especially because not everyone has an access to landlines and prepaid mobile phone users would not be able to access the hotline either by call or SMS if they have no remaining credits.”
Last December of 2017, Senator De Lima made a call to Senate to question the effectivity, the efficiency, and the accessibility of the complaint hotline. She said that the Congress is responsible to observe and study the implementation of the 8888 to its accessibility and fair treatment to all of our country’s citizens.
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What do you think about President Duterte’s plan? Would this be effective in terms of improving the 8888 hotline? Or would the PLDT fight its way, saying that they’re already doing their best?