DITO says it won’t use telecom infra to obtain classified military info

CHINA-BACKED DITO Telecommunity Corp. on Wednesday said it will not use its devices and infrastructures to obtain classified information from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). DITO Telecommunity issued the statement after concerns about the deal between the AFP and the country’s third telco player to build cell sites in select military camps were raised anew at a House of Representatives hearing on Tuesday. “The memorandum of agreement signed with the AFP contained the very same provisions signed by the other two telcos with the notable exception that additional provisions were provided pertaining to commitments of DITO to national security. DITO Telecommunity guaranteed that its devices, equipment, and structures shall not be used to obtain classified information from the Armed Forces,” Adel A. Tamano, DITO chief administrative officer, said. Mr. Tamano also said the company submitted its 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.” He said the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and the national security adviser “accepted” the plan. DITO Telecommunity is expected to have its technical launch in January 2021 and commercial operations by March. During the technical launch, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) will audit DITO’s compliance with the government’s requirement to cover 37% of the population nationwide with 27 megabits per second. — Arjay L. Balinbin

Justice chief says Duterte has final decision on PhilHealth officials as task force wraps up probe

JUSTICE SECRETARY Menardo I. Guevarra on Wednesday said President Rodrigo R. Duterte will ultimately make the final decision on Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) officials as the task force investigating alleged corruption in the agency concluded its seven-day hearings. “We are still in the process of doing that (evaluation), but I can assure everyone that after proper evaluation, at ito ang makikita namin na (and we see the) liability of any person concerned, we’ll be very clear about it and say it as it is,” he said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel. “We will make a proper recommendation after having established our findings and leave it to the President, whether he will act on the recommendations or not,” he added. Mr. Duterte ordered the creation of the inter-agency task force led by the Department of Justice (DoJ). — Vann Marlo M. Villegas