DITO Telecommunity: The National Security Council Audited Us Already

Published June 14, 2021, 9:16 AM

by Robert D. Reyes

DITO Telecommunity x National Security Council

Critics were quick to assume that the entry of DITO Telecommunity, the country’s latest major telecoms player, will pose a cybersecurity threat since China Telecommunications Corporation holds a significant share of the company.

Following US President Joe Biden’s issuance of an Executive Order prohibiting US-based companies from making investments in Chinese entities that undermine the security or democratic values of their country and allies, Philippine Senator Risa Hontiveros renews her call for the National Security Council to conduct a security audit of DITO.

But during the telco’s virtual press briefing last Friday, 11 June 2021, it turns out that a security audit of DITO was conducted already by the NSC and the country’s latest major telco aced it.

“Na-security audit na kami. The National Security Council through the National Security Adviser’s Office conducted a very comprehensive security audit of DITO’s network early this year. They submitted the results of the audit, including their findings and remediation measures that were required of DITO. These were submitted to the inter-agency committee on cybersecurity and office of the Executive Secretary, as head of the said committee,” according to Retired Major General Rodolfo “GenBoy” Santiago, DITO Telecommunity Corporation Chief Technology Officer.

As a matter of fact, according to GenBoy, the NSC wanted the same kind of audit to be applied to the other telco players and to make it industry-wide locally.

“Para masabi talaga that our telecommunications infrastructure is safe from cyberthreat,” added by DITO’s CTO, who was the former commandant of the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“We believe that if cybersecurity truly is a paramount concern, then it should be industry standard, and that is one of the things that we are advocating. When you talk about cybersecurity and talk about the telcos, there is interconnection — some kind of interaction between all telcos,” said Atty. Adel Tamano, DITO Telecommunity Corporation Chief Administrative Officer adding that they are the only Philippine telco that was required to follow a cybersecurity plan that has to go through the approval process at the DICT.

DITO on Zero-Rating & 1M Subscribers

“We haven’t really unveiled yet all of our packages even our OTT, to include Facebook, Viber, and the like. We are in talks with them to come up with unique and compelling packages, which we can embed in our current products and promos,” according to Jasper Evangelista, Director of Brand & Marketing at DITO Telecommunity when I asked about their zero-rating plans.

Zero-rating is the telecoms industry practice of providing cost-free Internet access under certain conditions like by allowing access to only certain websites or by subsidizing the service with advertising, etc. PLDT/Smart and Globe Telecoms have zero-rating for Internet.org websites (Facebook, FB Messenger, Wikipedia, etc.) — commonly known as “Free FB” to prepaid users.

DITO Telecommunity also shared that they are fast approaching the one-millionth subscriber mark just a few weeks after they activated their services in Metro Manila, and announced the expansion of their coverage to twenty-three (23) additional areas across the nation as we celebrate the country’s 123rd Independence Day last Saturday, 12 June 2021.