Duterte grants fresh 25-year franchise to DITO

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 18) — President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law on Tuesday the bill granting DITO Telecommunity a fresh 25-year franchise.

Duterte approved Republic Act 11537 renewing the telecommunications service provider's franchise, which was originally set to expire on April 24, 2023.

The law shall take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation.

Conditions

Under the Act, DITO shall submit an annual report to the Congress on or before April 30 of every year during the term of its franchise.

"The annual report shall include an update of its rollout, development, operation and/or expansion of business, audited financial statements, latest GIS (General Information Sheet) submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission, if applicable, certification of the National Telecommunications Commission on the status of [DITO's] permits and operations, and an update on the dispersal of ownership if applicable," the law said.

If DITO fails to submit the annual report to Congress, it will be met with up to a P1 million fine per working day of noncompliance.

The company must also submit regular security audits of its network by various agencies including the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the National Security Council.

Aside from the annual report and security audits, DITO is also required to make a full report to the President and Congress when any data or information is disclosed to a foreign government, its instrumentalities, or agents. "Failure to make such disclosure shall be a ground for the revocation of the franchise," the law reads.

China state-owned China Telecom has a 40% stake in DITO, which has raised questions on data privacy and national security. The Armed Forces of the Philippines and DITO have allayed fears of security breaches and spying on Filipinos and the national government.

DITO reached half a million subscribers more than two months after it launched its mobile services, its chairman Dennis Uy said Monday.

RELATED: DITO Telecommunity boasts 500K subscribers after March launch