DITO Telecommunity Corporation, the third telco in the Philippines, faces new charges over its alleged illegal construction of cell towers.
Dito’s commercial rollout is scheduled in March wherein it promised to service 37 percent of the population with 27 megabits per second (mbps).
Defending Indigenous peoples (IPs) rights to free and prior informed consent (FPIC) which is privded for under Section 59 of the Republic Act 8371 or the “Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples-Cordillera Administrative Region (NCIP-CAR) issued a show-cause order against Dito Telecommunity for its alleged violation of the rights of IPs to ancestal domains in Benguet.
“It has come to our attention that your company has undertaken or is currently undertaking fiber-optics laying in the various ADs in Benguet province without securing the FPIC [from] concerned indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs) and paying just and fair compensation for damages [that] they may sustain as consequence thereof,” states the show-cause order of the NCIP-CAR against Dito from Regional Director Marlon Bosantog.
Aside from the FPIC, the commission explained to Dito that “Section 7 (b) of the IPRA [also] recognizes, protects and promotes, among others, the rights of the ICCs/IPs to an informed and intelligent participation in the formulation and implementation of any project, government or private, that will affect or impact upon the ancestral domains and to receive just and fair compensation for any damages [that] they may sustain as a result of the project.”
Dito was given 15 days to respond and explain why it should not be held liable for violating the IPRA.
Dito has a pending application with the NCIP-CAR for the constructuon of a telecommunication tower in La Trinidad, Benguet.
Notwithstanding the existing application, the project is still in the preliminary stages of the FPIC process.
Earlier this month, Dito was slapped with charges by the local government of Malabon for violation of Section 301 of Presidential Decree 1096 or the National Building Code of the Philippines before the Malabon City Prosecutor’s Office on Dec. 15, 2020 for its alleged illegal constructuon of a cell site in the city.
City Engineer Christian Uriarte of the Malabon City Engineering Office said they had thrice sent Dito violation notices which the company allegedly ignored.
LGU authorities in the province of Cebu have also an issue against road engineering works being done in certain along main thoroughfares in a commercial district.
Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia summoned Dito Telecommunity officials last month after some of its construction work in Consolacion town allegedly left potholes on the road, causing heavy traffic in the area.