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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Senator asks NTC to answer questions on DITO audit

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Senator Risa Hontiveros asked the National Telecommunications Commission to answer the questions raised by an IT advocacy group on its technical audit of DITO Telecommunity Corp.

“If the agency will not be able to do so, it will only add to the public’s suspicion that it may be at the behest of the China-backed third telco,” Hontiveros said.

The third major telco’s franchise renewal was approved by the senators at the committee level amid an allegation made by Democracy.Net.Ph that its first network audit conducted in February 2021 was defective.

Democracy.Net.Ph co-founder Pierre Galla said in a Senate hearing that the NTC allowed the sampling of a limited number of barangays to determine if DITO met its first year commitment to the government.

Galla said that instead of testing more than 8,800 barangays meant to prove that DITO met its first-year promise to cover 37 percent of the Philippine population, the NTC allowed the sampling of just 2,671 barangays.

He said the field tests also covered 200 cell sites out of DITO’s 1,602 active sites.

Hontiveros said there were more questions that needed to be answered.

“Has undue partiality really been shown to DITO during both the bidding and the audit process? Under this administration, a declared ally of the Chinese regime, could DITO have lost the bidding and is there really a chance it will not pass this audit?” she said.

Senator Grace Poe, chairman of the Senate public services committee, earlier said DITO was granted the third player status because it was evaluated as capable of competing with the two other major players.

DITO began its commercial rollout on March 8 in 15 areas in the  Visayas and Mindanao. It expects to be available nationwide by mid-2021.

DITO is 40-percent owned by Beijing-run  China Telecom as a joint venture with Davao City businessman Dennis Uy's Udenna Corp. and Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp.

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