Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday urged Department of Information Communication and Technology (DICT) to require China-owned Dito Corporation to improve its services or forfeit the P25.7 billion performance bond if the telco fails to deliver on its promises.
Hontiveros said DICT should also monitor Dito. “If it cannot step up, the government can very well claim the billions of pesos in performance bond when we want. That money may be better used for our health and economic needs in this pandemic,” Hontiveros said.
She also said Dito initially said competition would be good because of a third telco. “They also extolled about the near-Singapore’ internet speeds. Where is it? With the mounting complaints against their services, this is another headache for the President,” said Hontiveros,
Another senator Sherwin Gatchalian said pre-paid subscriber identity module (SIM) card registration would put an end to the prevalent fake food delivery bookings and other online scams.
“It’s high time that the Philippines joins the growing list of countries mandating the registration of SIM cards,” said Gatchalian.
Citing data from UK-based Privacy International, Gatchalian said there were already 155 countries that require proof of identity of a person who is purchasing a SIM card as of March 2020.
“There will be no end to victimizing people who are doing their job well not until there’s a law to punish those victimizing them,” stressed Gatchalian.
The Vice Chairperson of the Senate Economic Affairs Committee was referring to the series of incidents involving scams committed against food delivery riders through online orders or bookings.
The senator said the agency should forfeit Dito's P25.7-billion performance bond if the new third telco fails to deliver on its
“Noong una, ayon sa Dito, gaganda raw ang kompetisyon dahil magkakaroon ng ikatlong telco. Mayroon pa silang sinasabing ‘near Singapore’ daw na internet speeds. Nasaang banda na ‘yan ngayon? Sa dami ng reklamo tungkol sa kanila ngayon, parang mas nabigyan lang ng sakit ng ulo ang mga Pilipino,” Hontiveros said.
The senator cited reports about netizens flooding Dito’s social media page with negative reviews after the telco announced its pop-up shops around Metro Manila. The comments largely revolved around intermittent signal, incompatibility of SIM cards with many mobile phones, and slow internet connection, among others.
Hontiveros reiterated that Dito committed to deliver 27 megabits per second internet speed within the first year of operations. The telco also pledged to provide 55 Mbps of internet speed that could reach 84% of the population within five years.
President Rodrigo Duterte recently signed a 25-year franchise for Dito.
“Dapat i-monitor ito ng DICT at igiit sa Dito na ayusin kaagad ang kanilang serbisyo. Masyado naman yata silang pinagbibigyan. If it cannot step up, the government can very well claim the billions of pesos in performance bonds when we want. That money may be better off used for our health and economic needs in this pandemic,” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros earlier voted "No" to the approval of Dito Telco’s franchise. The senator said that having a telco that is partly owned by the Chinese state is against our national interests, especially since China, a rival claimant in the West Philippine Sea, has proven time and again that she will use any leverage she has to her advantage.
“Bawal nang magpalusot ang Dito. Simulan na nilang patunayan na mapapakinabangan ng mga Pilipino ang serbisyo nila. Lugi na nga tayo sa West Philippine Sea, lugi pa tayo sa internet,” Hontiveros concluded.