A former legislator on Monday demanded Congress to look into the progress of third telecommunications provider Dito Telecom’s operation in light of reports it has been way behind the target date of its supposed undertaking.
Neri Colmenares, former Bayan Muna Party-list representative, said the second quarter of 2020 was the scheduled pilot testing of Dito Telecom, and yet facilities such as communications tower and cell sites have yet to be put up.
“It has been June of 2019 yet when the telco party was given a legislative franchise, and July of 2019 when it received a permit to operate from Malacañang and the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the National Telecommunications Commission, and yet despite all of this, the firm remains delayed in its operation,” Colmenares said in a statement.
Dito Telecom, formerly Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. Inc., is a consortium company composed of Udenna Corp. with 35 percent shares, and Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp., 25 percent—both of which are owned by Davao-based businessman Denny Uy, and China Telecommunications Corp., with 40 percent shares.
Despite the issuance of a permit to operate along with consortium China Telecom, the supposed third telco party, Colmenares said, Congress should prevent the entry of China in the Philippine telecommunications sector.
“China poses a threat to the Philippines not only through its control of the energy grid, but even in the telecommunications sector. Considering that we have a dispute with China because of its rapacious expansionism in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and its trampling of our sovereign rights, it is absurd for the Philippines to give it control of our telecommunications system. Besides, it is already the middle of January, whatever happened to its operations which was approved last year,” Colmenares said.
“China can compromise cellular networks by monitoring and saving SMS and extract messages. This is not only a violation of our right to privacy but even national security, “ he added.
Colmenares said that “Congress should not only focus on its investigation into China’s hold of our energy grid, but also its threat of holding one of the most vital and sensitive sector in the country, our telecommunications system.”