THE BANGSAMORO Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said it is ready to assist DITO Telecommunity Corp. as it aims to help improve the region’s connectivity by installing 166 cell sites over the next two years. 

“Actually, we don’t have any control over them… (but) we can suggest locations that they can prioritize for the towers,” Bangsamoro Telecommunications Commission (BTC) Officer-in-Charge Omar Marzoc said in a mix of English and Filipino in a statement from the regional information office on Wednesday.   

Mr. Marzoc and MOTC Minister Dickson P. Hermoso met with DITO Telecommunity Chief Technology Officer Rodolfo D. Santiago and Chief Administrative and Legal Officer Adel A. Tamano in Davao City last week, where they discussed the company’s cell tower rollout plan from 2021 to 2023.    

MOTC and DITO Telecommunity intend to sign an agreement later this year to formalize the public-private sector collaboration.  

“If they will be able to partner with us and we will be able to assist them in securing their permits and licenses, we might be able to hasten their intention to build more towers and invest in the BARMM (Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao),” said Marzoc.  

DITO Telecommunity’s license application for new cell sites is still with the National Telecommunications Commission, but subsequent renewals would already be handled by the BTC.    

This year, the company has already set up 13 cell sites in Maguindanao, including Cotabato City, and two sites in Lanao del Sur, according to Mr. Marzoc. Some of the sites are already operational but not yet officially launched.  

“For next year… they will be increasing the number of sites both for Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur, and for Phase 3, they will be entering the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi,” he said.  

DITO Telecommunity, formerly known as Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, Inc. or Mislatel, is assessing the use of submarine cables to deliver better telecommunication services to the three island provinces. — MSJ 

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