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Ex-military men join telco Dito

AT LEAST NINE former military officers have joined Dito Telecommunity Corp., a company official said Thursday, amid concerns over its partnership with a Chinese state-owned telecommunications firm.

Retired Col. Roleen del Prado currently leads the telco startup’s cybersecurity operations team, Dito Chief Technology Officer Rodolfo D. Santiago, also a retired military general, said at a virtual briefing.

“We regard him as the best in terms of cybersecurity… I was able to convince him to retire early and join Dito to lead our cybersecurity operations,” he added.

Mr. Santiago added that a “minimum of nine” former military officers currently work for Dito.

“If you’re going to scan the local cybersecurity industry, this is true even in other countries, those who have been with the armed forces are the best persons to be utilized for very, very critical cybersecurity requirements,” he said.

There have been concerns over the deal between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the telco startup to build cell sites in select military camps.

Dito vowed it would not use its devices and infrastructures to obtain classified information from the Armed Forces.

In September, the telco startup announced it would be investing P1 billion in cybersecurity solutions this year to be supplied by 12 technology firms based in the United States.

Dito has already put up close to 1,900 towers nationwide, Dito Chief Administrative Officer Adel A. Tamano said at a Senate hearing on Dec. 7.

The company has built “more than enough” cell sites to achieve its commitment to cover 37% of the population with a minimum of 27 Megabits per second, he added.

Dito is set to commercially launch its services in March after the scheduled technical audit in January.

The telco startup is 40% owned by China Telecommunications Corp. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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