The government is just being fair when it decided to allow China-backed DITO Telecommunity Corp. to put up cell sites inside Philippine military facilities, according to a former communications technology official.
Retired Brigadier General Eliseo Rio, the former Undersecretary for Operations of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), said the practice of installing cell sites at military installations started in the late 1990s.
"Way back in 1997 to 1998 umuumpisa pa lang noon ang ating mobile network, at kung matatandaan mo that time pinapasabog (ng mga NPA) ang mga cell site," Rio told Henry Omaga-Diaz in an interview on Teleradyo Saturday.
"Inimbitahan namin ang Globe and Smart na dito kayo magtayo sa loob ng kampo. Doon nag-umpisa iyon."
Rio said that the two telcos now have their towers installed in more than 270 military and police camps nationwide.
The former DICT official said the government will also need to give the same treatment to DITO Telecommunity.
"Hindi ho mahindian ng Armed Forces na hindi pagbigyan ang bagong telco kasi may anti-competition law na tayo. Kung ano'ng ibinigay mo sa isang kumpanya dapat ibigay mo rin sa ibang kumpanya," said Rio, who resigned his post at DICT in February.
Meanwhile, Adel Tamano, DITO Telecommunity chief administrative officer, said the company's equipment, devices and structures to be constructed at military camps will not be used to obtain classified information
"We have submitted our cybersecurity plan during the bidding process to prove that our networks and facilities will not compromise national security and shall abide with the National Cybersecurity Plan," Tamano said.
Although a Filipino company, the third telco behind Globe and Smart is a consortium composed of Dennis Uy's Udenna Corp and Chelsea Logistics with state-owned China Telecom.