A FORMER member of the House of Representative is asking Congress to check on the progress of third telco party Dito Telecom’s operation in light of reports it is behind the target date of its supposed undertaking.
Neri Colmenares, former Bayan Muna party-list representative, pointed out that the second quarter of 2020 was the scheduled pilot testing of Dito Telecom, but until now facilities such as communication towers and cell sites are still incomplete.
Colmenares noted that Dito Telecoms got its legislative franchise in June 2019 and its permit to operate from Malacañang and Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in July 2019, and yet it remains delayed in its operation.
He said that if the company’s operations continue to be delayed, Congress should just revoke its franchise.
“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. Congress has the power to grant franchises and also the power to withdraw these, especially if it poses a threat to the country and the Filipino people,” he added.
Dito Telecom, formerly Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company Inc. (Mistel) is a consortium company composed of Udenna Corporation (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 Corporation (40 percent).
Although the telecom has already been issued a permit to operate along with consortium China Telecom, Colmenares reiterated his opposition to the entry of China in the country’s telecommunications sector, reminding Congress that several countries have complained of China’s espionage where it uses telecoms in undercover works, proof of it was the report of telecommunication watchdog FireEye Mendiant which maintained China developed a ‘Message Tap’ malware which has the ability to hack SMS data among texters.
“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 said.