MANILA (UPDATE) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday signed a law renewing the franchise of DITO Telecommunity for another 25 years, a document from Malacañang showed.
“This franchise is shall be extended and in effect for a period of twenty-five (25) years from its expiration date on April 24, 2023, unless sooner revoked or cancelled,” Duterte said of DITO's license to operate in Republic Act 11537.
“This franchise shall be deemed ipso facto revoked in the event the grantee fails to operate continuously for 2 years.”
DITO’s service should be “satisfactory at all times” and extend in “areas not yet served, and in hazard- and typhoon-prone areas,” Duterte ordered.
The law gave Duterte the right to suspend or take over and operate DITO’s facilities and equipment, among others, “in times of war, rebellion, public peril, calamity, emergency, disaster or disturbance of peace and order.”
“The radio spectrum is a finite resource that is part of national patrimony and the use thereof is a privilege conferred upon the grantee by the State and may be withdrawn any time after due process,” read RA 11537.
In line with the constitutional provision encouraging public participation in public utilities, DITO shall offer to Filipinos at least 30 percent of its outstanding capital stocks within 5 years from the effectivity of the law, said Duterte.
He said 60 percent of DITO’s workers should be regular employees.
DITO is a consortium made up of companies owned by Davao-based billionaire Dennis Uy and China Telecoms.
The country's third telco player launched commercial services in the National Capital Region on Monday, after starting operations in key areas in Visayas and Mindanao in March.
Lawmakers and security experts had earlier expressed concern over state-owned China Telecoms' participation in DITO, saying it posed a risk to national security as the new telco would build facilities inside military camps.
Malacañang, however, downplayed these concerns.
DITO's initial commitment was to provide "near-Singapore" internet speeds of at least 27 Mbps on its first year.