Senate President Vicente Sotto III is not bothered by the government’s agreement with Dito Telecommunity on their construction of cell sites within military bases.

sotto5 - Senate president not bothered by gov’t agreement with Dito to construct cell sites within military bases
Sen. Vicente Sotto III (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Sotto said on Saturday, Sept. 19, that the public should not worry that national defense officials allowed Dito to build cell towers in military camps, echoing views that the telecommunication company’s rivals have similar infrastructure in the same areas anyway.

“Huwag sila kabahan doon sa sinasabi ng iba kasi bakit daw sa mga kampo maglalagay ng cell sites (They should not worry about what others were saying against the construction of cell sites in camps). Tanong ko nga sa kanila: Saan ba nakalagay ang cell site ng Globe at Smart (Let me ask them: Where are the cell sites of Globe and Smart located)? Sa mga kampo rin, ‘di ba (Inside military camps, right)?” he said in an interview with radio DWIZ, without naming Dito.

“Ito raw ay Chinese daw…Apparently hindi niyo alam, na ang Globe at Smart ang backbone [ay] Huawei (They were saying that the company was Chinese. Apparently, they are not aware that the backbone of Globe and Smart is Huawei). Eh iyon din ‘yon, eh (That’s the same),” he said.

“Kahit sabihin mo ilabas sa kampo, sa tingin mo sa technology ngayon, one kilometer or two kilometers away, hindi ka kaya i-monitor (Even if you tell them to build outside military camps, you think, with the technological advancements today, you cannot be monitored even if they are one or two kilometers away)? Kung gusto ka i-monitor, ‘di ba (If they really wanted to monitor you, right)?” he continued.

Sotto said it is even “safer” for the telco to put up towers inside military camps where they would not be “bothered by some ‘nice’ people around.”

“Hihingan ng tax (Various taxes would be demanded from them)…’Pag hindi nagbigay, pe-perwisyohin ‘yong cell site (If they fail to pay, they will delay the cell site). Hindi naiisip ng iba, eh, basta, kala lang nila, nagbintang kaagad na masama (Others do not realize that, they are just quick to judge that it has ill motives),” he said.

Sotto issued these statements to underscore the need to establish more cell sites to improve telecommunication services and Internet connection in the country. Aside from the cell towers, he said more funds are needed to finance the government’s efforts for better Internet access.

Some senators earlier raised alarm over the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ agreement with Dito amid China’s island-building and militarization activities in the West Philippines Sea. 

Forty percent of the consortium is owned by state-run China Telecommunications Corporation. 

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