Senate tackles DITO franchise on Dec. 7

Published December 3, 2020, 5:40 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Senate Committee on Public Services will tackle next week the proposed franchise renewal of DITO Telecommunity Corp., the country’s third telecommunications company player.

(Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Sen. Grace Poe, chairwoman of the panel, said the hearing on Dec. 7 would also serve as a venue for the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to show the public how it has been doing its job during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“It (NTC) should be able to show in concrete terms how it ensured compliance of telcos for ample bandwidth allocation and availability of service and signal to its subscribers,” Poe said in a statement.
“This pandemic has shown us unprecedented demand. Better services must be delivered in the soonest possible time,” she said.

DITO, formerly Mislatel Consortium, is composed of businessman Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp., its subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Holdings Inc., and Chinese state-owned China Telecommunications Corp.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros had earlier urged the Senate Committee on National Defense to immediately start its probe into the deal entered into by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and DITO Telecommunity as she raised concern over the possible intrusion of the Chinese-owned company in the country’s national security.
Hontiveros is referring to the agreement which would enable DITO to install cellular equipment within Philippine military camps.
“This fact alone is alarming enough, especially at a time when China continues her adventurism in contested territories in the West Philippine Sea,” Hontiveros said.
“This (DITO) is a proxy of a Chinese regime intent on pushing its weight around and imposing its will upon the region,” she lamented.
The lawmaker issued the warning based on a telecommunications study released last month by Australia-based Asia Pacific consulting firm CreatorTech which reveals how ChinaTel directly reports to the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.
The study  also showed how ChinaTel had close ties with China’s Armed Forces.

“Time and again, I have raised concerns regarding China-owned DITO Telco’s intrusion in the country. The revelations in CreatorTech’s new study are not surprising, given that many of our own experts have already flagged national security issues,” she said.