DITO hires retired AFP officers to head cybersecurity

DITO Telecommunity Corp. tapped former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officers to lead its team to ensure that its network would not cause national security threats.

Many feared that Beijing would use DITO to spy on the Philippines because of the telco’s Chinese state-owned partner.

DITO chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago said a “minimum of nine” retired AFP officers were hired by the telco, including him. Santiago was a former brigadier general.

He confirmed that DITO is still hiring some ex-military officers to join the company.

Santiago also revealed that DITO hired retired Col. Roleen del Prado, a cybersecurity expert, to head its cybersecurity team.

“I need an expert. Magaling ang na-recruit, nakasama ko sa AFP. I know his reputation and expertise,” he said.

“Second, kasama sa commitment na we have to ensure that our network will not be utilized to threaten national security. Ano ba magandang gawin? Magaling na galing pa sa AFP na I’m sure he will not compromise national security,” he added.

Santiago said Del Prado is part of DITO’s cybersecurity system’s requirement determination and design.

DITO hires retired AFP officers to head cybersecurity

Retired Col. Romy Basco to the head of “physical security.”

“Under him [Basco] are six regional officers and staff, so I have seven people from the Armed Forces of the Philippines working for my team,” Tamano said.

DITO earlier announced it would spend P1 billion and hired US cybersecurity firms for its planned cybersecurity center.

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

In September, the government has allowed DITO Telecommunity, the third telecommunications player in the Philippines, to build inside military bases.

The Congress granted DITO Telecommunity with a new 25-year franchise last August.

Dito Telecommunity Corporation (formerly known as Islamic Telephone Company, Inc. or Mislatel) is a consortium of businessman Dennis Uy’s Corporation and its subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Corporation, and Chinese state-owned China Telecommunications Corporation, a parent company of China Telecom.