DITO Telecommunity Corp. will now have an opportunity to dispute security threat charges as Senate sets a hearing on its franchise renewal bid.
In a statement, Senator Grace Poe, Senate committee on public services chair, said the hearing is set on December 7.
Earlier, Sen. Risa Hontiveros urged the Senate to speed up the probe on the AFP-Dito deal citing red flags raised by Philippine experts regarding the “China-owned Dito telco’s intrusion in the country.”
The lady senator was referring to the agreement
which would enable Dito to install cell sites inside Philippine military camps.
Hontiveros expressed alarm on CreatorTech’s new study which reveals, among others, that that “ChinaTel reports directly to the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and that ChinaTel had close ties with China’s Armed Forces.”
“This fact alone is alarming enough, especially at a time when China continues her adventurism in contested territories in the West Philippine Sea,” Hontiveros stressed.
“This (Dito) is a proxy of a Chinese regime intent on pushing its weight around and imposing its will upon the region,” she added.
Hontiveros urged the Committee on National Defense to immediately hear Senate Resolution 137 which she filed in 2019 seeking to investigate the AFP-Dito deal.
“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 stressed.
Hontiveros said she has repeatedly warned that “ChinaTel, which has a 40% stake in Dito, is 100% owned by the People’s Republic of China” and that “CreatorTech also thought it necessary to articulate” this warning.
“We, in the Senate, should stop ignoring these blatant red flags. Pambansang interes at seguridad ang nakataya,” she added.
Hontiveros’ warnings were based on a telecommunications study released last month by Creator Tech, an ASIA Pacific consulting firm based in Australia.
The study titled, “A Study Into The Proposed New Telecommunications Operator In The Philippines: Critical Success Factors and Likely Risks,” raised serious concern on national security and on the selection and impending operation of Dito Telecommunity-China Telecom as the country’s third telco player.