SENATOR Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Monday called for an executive session to discuss the national security concerns surrounding Dito Telecommunity’s business connection with China Telecom.
Pangilinan made the pronouncement as he underscored the need to look into the serious implications in terms of national security that Dito might bring, being a company partially owned by China Telecom.
“Perhaps the chair may consider, at some point, calling an executive session, so that we can discuss, very sensitive national security issues, and we will be able to discuss freely,” Pangilinan said during the Senate Committee on Public Services’ hearing on the renewal of Dito’s franchise.
Committee chairperson Sen. Grace Poe acceded to Pangilinan’s call for an executive session.
The veteran lawmaker revealed that China Telecom is one of the 20 companies listed by the United States Department of Defense that have direct links to the People’s Liberation Army.
Pangilinan pointed out that Chinese companies, under the People’s Republic of China’s Counter Espionage Law of 2014 and Chinese National Intelligence Law of 2017, are mandated to cooperate in intelligence gathering and data gathering.
Chinese companies are also required to conduct espionage activities and immediately report to the government critical information they gathered.
“How is Dito going to address this in terms of the security concerns of the country, given that China Telecom, precisely has a 40 percent stake with their company?” said Pangilinan.
It was Pangilinan who sounded the alarm regarding the national security concerns that may result from Dito’s dealing with China Telecom.
The Senator also raised concern over the agreement that the Department of National Defense (DND) has entered into with Dito for the establishment of towers in military camps.