Press Release
February 24, 2021

Hontiveros to NSC: Conduct security audit for China-owned Dito Telco now

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday urged the National Security Council (NSC) to immediately conduct a security audit of China-owned Dito Telecommunity Corporation ahead of its commercial rollout on March 8.

"Hindi pa nareresolba ang mga pangamba natin sa Dito telco. Habang patuloy ang pambubully ng Tsina sa West Philippine Sea sa gitna ng pandemya, nag-roll out naman tayo ng red carpet para sa isang kumpanyang direktong nagrereport sa gobyerno ng Tsina. This is worrying. NSC should execute a security audit for Dito. It's the least it can do," Hontiveros said.

The senator added that NSC must also tap an independent security auditor, similar to how the National Telecommunications Commission conducted its technical audit of Dito. On Monday, Feb. 22, NTC announced that the third telco passed its first technical audit.

"Kung nagkaroon ng technical audit, dapat may security audit din. Knowing that Dito is safe from China's incursions is as vital as knowing Dito's technical capabilities," Hontiveros said, reiterating that ChinaTel, which has a 40% stake in Dito, is 100% owned by the Chinese state.

During the Senate hearing on Dito's franchise in December, the NSC admitted that it did not have a cyberdefense doctrine that can fight against cyberattacks. Hontiveros earlier questioned why Dito should be allowed franchise when the country's cyberdefenses are down.

The senator had also flagged a China-based hacking group, code name "Naikon," that has been carrying out an espionage campaign against governments in the Asia Pacific, including the Philippines.

"Nakakabahala na wala palang konkretong istratehiya ang NSC sa usapin ng cybersecurity. China can easily take advantage of this. Sinasakop na nila ang ating karagatan ng harap-harapan. Nothing is stopping it from doing the same to our data," the senator said.

"Not unless China finally respects and honors that our territories in the WPS are ours and ours alone, every other business negotiation it has in our country will remain suspicious. Panindigan natin ang laban na ito. Kung hindi, ang Pilipino lang ang talo," Hontiveros concluded.

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