Third telco DITO says it's 'a Filipino company,' won't allow China spying

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 08 2020 03:34 PM | Updated as of Dec 08 2020 04:44 PM

The DITO Telecommunications and Udenna Corporation headquarters in Taguig City on Feb. 20, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — The Philippines' third major telco player DITO Telecommunity on Tuesday it is a Filipino company and rejected fears that the Chinese state-owned company running its 5G technology would be used by Beijing to spy on Manila. 

DITO "is run by Filipinos", including officers and employees, said its chief administrative officer Adel Tamano. 

"We are a Filipino company... Therefore, we will never allow any espionage or anything that will be negative to our national security to happen to our operations," he told reporters at a government briefing. 

Unlike other telcos, regulators required DITO to provide a cybersecurity plan, which "is in place in order to protect our consumers and our network from cybersecurity problems, whether it be from other countries or different groups," he said. 

DITO is "investing heavily in cybersecurity." It spent P1 billion for its digital security center alone last year, Tamano said.  

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DITO is a joint venture between tycoon Dennis Uy's Udenna Corp and China Telecom. It is required to install up to 37-percent coverage with 27 mbps data speed by July. 

The involvement of China's state-run firm has drawn concerns as Manila and Beijing remain locked in a dispute over the resource-rich South China Sea, even as economic ties have improved under the Duterte administration.

The consortium is "quite confident" that lawmakers would approve its franchise before its commercial launch in March, Tamano said. 

"We believe it will be most fair for Filipinos, especially Filipino consumers, who will be buying our SIMs and will be investing in our service to be assured that our franchise will continue and that our business will be viable," he added.