Press Release
September 20, 2007


Senator Mar Roxas debunked the government's claim that P4.7 billion in government's communication expenses will be saved as a result of the $330-million contract with ZTE Corp. of China for the National Broadband Network (NBN), which seeks to connect government offices.

"Do not say that this P4.7 billion will actually be all totally saved, because a huge portion of this is really government communicating with the citizens," he said at the joint hearing of the Senate trade & commerce, blue ribbon and defense committees.

"You're using these numbers not to help clarify but to further confuse," Roxas, the Senate trade committee chairman, added.

He said he was "offended" by Transportation and Communications Assistant Secretary Lorenzo Formoso's claim that the government communications savings yearly will be P4.7 billion, which would include expenses of the national government, government-owned and controlled corporations and local government units.

He said that the NBN project will only serve the communication linkage between government offices, and that the usual costs will be applied when outside calls, especially international calls, will be made.

Upon Roxas' questioning, Formoso agreed that when calls go outside the NBN, access charges would have to be paid. When asked further as to the portion of this P4.7 billion which are IDD or other outside calls, Formoso said he did not know.

At Formoso's answer, Roxas said, "You cannot say that by implementing the NBN project that we will be saving this entire amount or this amount excluding P1 billion which is the annual amortization expense, because you do not know how much will continue to be spent by government talking to the outside world!"

"When you answer my colleagues, please answer clearly because otherwise you are serving to obfuscate the issue and not help clarify it," he told Formoso.

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