Petition to stop entry of DITO (China Telecom) to the Philippines until further study

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We started this petition to the Philippine Congress to stop the entry of Dito Telecommunity into the Philippine telco industry until its risks to the country are thoroughly assessed.

This year, the Philippine Congress fast-tracked the approval (less than 3 months) of House Bill (HB) No. 7332. This is the measure renewing the franchise of Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company (Mislatel) — which is now tagged as the country's 3rd telco player, Dito Telecommunity.

Dito's technological partner is China Telecom, a telecommunications company owned by the Chinese government.

Fact: China’s laws mandate its companies to provide intelligence to the government.

China Telecom predominantly uses equipment from yet another Chinese company, Huawei Technologies, for its infrastructure. In recent years, Huawei has been under fire for alleged cybersecurity violations, resulting in the company being banned or effectively being banned in several countries. Yet, by allowing China Telecom entry into our telco industry, the Philippines is essentially giving Huawei free access to our data, whether it be government, military, corporate or personal. This gives China unprecedented potential to control sensitive aspects of our lives and our country's governance.

Dito is led by Davao City-based tycoon Dennis Uy. As such, Dito is composed of his Udenna Corporation along with a subsidiary, the publicly listed Chelsea Logistics. A Reuters report citing experts and bankers noted that Uy has taken advantage of his perceived close ties to President Rodrigo Duterte in order to get preferential treatment. This, as the report indicated, makes Uy attractive to Chinese firms seeking a Philippines foothold.

It's noteworthy that House Bill (HB) 78 conveniently seeks to allow 100% foreign ownership of telecommunications companies in the Philippines, giving rise to questions of China Telecom's real plan in the country, given Uy's apparent cooperativeness. The bill is currently pending in the Senate.

It may be recalled that the Philippine government has questioned the involvement of foreign investors in certain Philippine companies that fell under its scrutiny. It should likewise take a closer look at Dito and determine where its loyalties lie. Otherwise, this "cure" for the Philippines' telco problem may turn out to be terminal cancer.

It is true that the current offerings of the country's telco players need significant improvement. However, we must ask: "Will a 3rd telco with ties to the Chinese government actually help us out? Or is it some form of Trojan Horse that will be the cause of added woes?"

Sign this petition to let our legislators know that we do not agree to having our lives taken over by a foreign power. Demand that Congress scrutinize if what Dito Telecommunity brings to the country is truly to the benefit of our national interests.

In signing, send a strong appeal to our countrymen not to be lured by money and to reject all offers to lease their land for cell sites, to bar Dito from proceeding until such time as an investigation is conducted.

References:

"House approves 25-year franchise for Dito Telecom"
https://rappler.com/nation/house-approves-franchise-dito-telecommunity

"Philippines' new China-led telecom firm surges after Duterte's 'chilling' threat"
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-philippines-telecoms/philippines-new-china-led-telecom-firm-surges-after-dutertes-chilling-threat-idUSKCN24T08D

“What’s wrong with Huawei, and why are countries banning the Chinese telecommunications firm?”
https://theconversation.com/whats-wrong-with-huawei-and-why-are-countries-banning-the-chinese-telecommunications-firm-109036

“Military report confirms spying risks in deal with China-backed telco”
https://rappler.com/newsbreak/in-depth/military-report-confirms-spying-risks-deal-china-backed-telco-part-1


"A Trojan Horse?"
https://manilastandard.net/opinion/columns/over-sight-by-danilo-suarez/256010/a-trojan-horse-.html