PARTY-LIST Bayan Muna on Wednesday flagged China-backed Dito Telecommunity Corp. for tapping a Chinese company for the installation of cell cites in Philippine military camps.

In a statement on Wednesday, Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand R. Gaite also criticized the Armed Forces of the Philippines for not disclosing that the DITO contractor, Leo Technologies Infrastructure, is a subsidiary of China Bester Group Telecom. 

“While we have been critical of DITO for being partly owned by China Telecom, we were surprised that the company which will build towers in military camps is in fact fully owned by a Chinese company in Wuhan,” Mr. Gaite said. 

“Our impression before was that Leo Technology has no connection with China,” he added. 

Former lawmaker Neri J. Colmenares said that such non-disclosure “is a huge threat to Philippine sovereignty and security.”

“China Telecom owns at least 40% of DITO, and DITO’s loan of US$ 500 Million from China’s banking sector portends of China’s greater control of the company beyond its 40% share.  Now, we are informed that the company actually building these towers is fully owned by China.  In fact, we found out that China Bester has been previously contracted to build fiber optic networks for homes in the Philippines,” Mr. Colmenares said. 

“Worse, the China Energy Equipment Co., another Chinese company contracted by DITO to construct its towers, is also a fully owned company from China,” he added. 

Mr. Colmenares, who previously questioned China loans for the Chico and Kaliwa dams, also called for the withdrawal of Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana’s approval of setting up DITO towers in military camps. 

Security officials have allayed fears over the security threat. 

 Asked if they intend to file a suit before the Supreme Court to stop the contracts, Mr. Colmenares told BusinessWorld that Bayan Muna will take the necessary steps in the future.— Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza