PLDT cuts off long distance services of the MISORTEL

By ERCEL MAANDIG

MISAMIS Oriental––The Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) has cut off the long distance services of the province’s cash trapped Misamis Oriental Telephone (MISORTEL) system, MISORTEL Manager Fernando Dy said on Wednesday.

Dy made the disclosure as he begged for the release of P6.2 million, representing as partial payment of MISORTEL’s P 51 million debt with the PLDT, with members of the provincial board during the board’s regular session last Monday.

PLDT is the major communication provider of the MISORTEL company that provides communication services to some 3,000 local subscribers in Cagayan De Oro City and Misamis Oriental.

Dy said that MISORTEL owes PLDT about P 45 million in 2005. “The amount has ballooned to P 51 million for the last nine years because of the unpaid 8 percent annual interest,” Dy told the provincial board members.

He said that the situation was exacerbated with the pulling out of MISORTEL’s institutional clients such as the Del Monte Philippines and the Pilipinas Kao, all multi-national companies in Cagayan De Oro and Misamis Oriental.

In response, the provincial board members passed a resolution for the release of P 6.2 million as MISORTEL’s partial payment to PLDT for the immediate reconnection of the international direct dialing lines of the province-owned telephone system.

Dy said that the amount is a shot in the arms of MISORTEL that would enhance boost the telephone system’s outbound long distance call services.

“The reconnection of the international long distance call services would also heighten the morale of the personnel of the ailing MISORTEL,” Dy added.

The MISORTEL was a major telecommunication provider of Misamis Oriental in the 70s. The entry of advance and digital telecommunication stakeholders in the 90s has gradually affected MISORTEL’s otherwise flourishing services.

In an effort to move alongside and catch up with the state-of-the-art telecommunication industry, MISORTEL entered a P 200 million loan with South Korea’s Eximbank in the mid-90s to modernize its communication services.

Like any government owned entity, MISORTEL fell in the snake pit of politics and has turned the province-owned telephone company into a “milking cow” of whoever runs the affair of the provincial government – leaving it to its sorry state today.

“It would take millions of pesos to allow MISORTEL to catch up and compete with the existing telecommunication giants today,” a provincial official said.

Apart from competent communications and technology engineers, MISORTEL also needs astute marketing managers who could give a lift of the telephone system’s share in the local market, he said.

Without sufficient capital outlay, competent communication engineers, and marketing managers, MISORTEL will continue to operate in the border of bankruptcy, the official said. CD

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