The Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives suspects a “double standard” in the swift passage of the legislative franchise renewal of the country’s third telco player DITO Telecommunity, comparing it to ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal rejection.

Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas pointed out that controversial issues such as foreign ownership and contractualization of workers were raised against the DITO akin to the broadcast giant, but its application’s approval went through a “smooth-sailing process” without facing “rigorous scrutiny.”

“Let us not forget that China Telecom, which is owned by the Chinese government, has a 40% share in DITO. In effect, we are allowing a China-backed telecom player to smoothly do business in our country—despite the various national security implications that we in Gabriela Women’s Party raised in several venues. Some of our colleagues were angry with ABS-CBN because of the supposed foreign citizenship of Mr. Gabby Lopez, but they don’t care if China enters our telecom industry,” said Brosas.

DITO Telecommunity is owned by Davao City-based businessman Dennis Uy, a close friend of President Rodrigo Duterte. “There was never a clamor from this chamber to review and re-assess the technical capacity of DITO Telecommunity, or to investigate its compliance to tax laws. Is this how Congress treats allies of the President applying for franchise?” Brosas asked.

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