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ROUGH CUTS: Taking prospective customers for a ride

About two years ago the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) through its contractors started stringing fiber optic lines in preparation for extending its landline and internet services to residents in some rural barangays in Calinan-Tugbok districts down to Tigatto.

When people learned about this development they were ecstatic. Finally they could easily communicate with their relatives and friends residing in the urban areas of the city as well as anywhere in the country and the world using the internet services.
Two groups were doing the line stringing. One group was stringing the fiber optic line from Calinan to Barangay Talomo River to Biao Joaquin, up to Talandang crossing New Valencia. Another contractor was undertaking the line stringing from the PLDT Exchange facilities in Buhangin down to Tigatto, passing to Waan up to Magtuod, New Carmen, to New Valencia up to where it meets with the line emanating from Calinan.
Towards December of 2017 there were already some people introducing as agents advising residents in the areas that as early as February 2018 those households interested to have telephone and internet services installed can already start applying.
February 2018 came but the over-eager agents no longer went to the houses they had earlier visited. Then came and went the months of March, April, May, June, July, August and September of the same year. We already saw PLDT-marked poles installed from Calinan to Talandang. Later, we saw digital boxes installed on the poles.
Residents again started following up at the Calinan office of PLDT inquiring whether they can already start applying for service connections. The PLDT representatives in its Calinan office advised those who inquired that once they see that the digital boxes are already assigned a particular number by October (of 2018) they can already start applying.
October, then November and December came to a close putting an end to 2018. But still, there were no numbers assigned on the boxes. The residents interested in getting telephone and internet services started losing hope. There was not a single so-so agent that made follow-ups on their earlier sales pitch.
We too, who have been hoping that finally we can have a landline telephone and internet connection in our rural residence in one of the supposedly to-be-served barangays in Tugbok district, felt extremely dismayed. PLDT who has been banding around as a world-class communications service provider miserably failed to communicate to its would-be customers the reason why after two years since the lines were started to be strung the services had not been delivered.
If it were not for a new friend, a businessman who has bought a 4-hectare property close to that of our family’s, we would not have known that the contractor undertaking the line and gadget installations from the Buhangin-New Valencia side of the project, reportedly committed a serious error in its work. We have no idea whether the contractor was ordered to re-do his failed job or was being charged in court.
But true or not the fact is, PLDT owes the people an explanation why the said project has become a long, long wait for those who are hoping its completion to come on the time earlier committed by the telecommunications giant.
Anyhow, towards the end of the last quarter of last year (2019) we saw workers of leading PLDT out-sourced service contractor Mirait Philippines, Inc. installing digital boxes in some poles of Davao Light with shared-use agreement with the telecommunications company. Our hope for the fast coming telecommunication services in our area was buoyed up. We did not hesitate to submit our application for connection.
But the year ended and 2020 set in. We did not hear of any action from the company’s agent, sub-agent or whatever they are. Then came CoViD pandemic and we consoled ourselves with the thought that the pandemic may have delayed the remaining work of the PLDT service providers.
Then the possibility of the conduct of classes through on-line comes. This definitely necessitates the massive installation of internet connections and wi-fi services in schools and houses. Suddenly there was a frenzy of talks about the activation of PLDT lines in areas covered by the telco extension project including our barangay.
Until today however, only one so far is installed telephone and internet connections. And believe you us. The new subscriber got his application form from, and submitted the same to a crew of a vehicle bearing the name of a PLDT contractor with tarpaulin banner attached on one side saying: “Application forms available and accepted here.”
The first ever subscriber in our barangay got his telephone installed less than two weeks after he submitted his application.
Is this what the telephone company calls its new “World-class” service?

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