Jitters over China in PH telco industry? They've long been here – DICT

MANILA, Philippines – Some lawmakers and experts have expressed concern over China gaining foothold in the Philippines' telecommunications space. Company documents, however, show that Beijing has long been involved.

During the Senate's explanatory hearing on the 3rd major telecommunications player selection on Tuesday, November 27, Acting Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr showed documents of Smart Communications and Globe Telecom dealing with Chinese companies.

Assembly of certain equipment and management system upgrades were some of the deals between Globe and Huawei. (READ: U.S. urging allies to shun Huawei – WSJ)

Globe then clarified that it only buys equipment from Huawei, and Filipino engineers and personnel operate them. Huawei has no management participation in Globe.

Meanwhile, Smart's expansion of its backbone and core equipment were made possible through agreements with Huawei and other foreign companies.

Experts warned that the win of Mislatel, a consortium of Dennis Uy's Udenna Corporation and China Telecom, may lead to security problems due to some reports regarding the latter. (READ: Gov't bias toward China seen in 3rd telco race)

report said that China Telecom has been involved in the misdirection of large amounts of internet traffic to Beijing, likely in an effort to assist the Chinese government's "surveillance of Western countries and companies." (READ: [ANALYSIS] Disturbing red flags in the 3rd telco selection)

However, IT expert Pierre Tito Galla said there was no hijacking incident.

Citing another report, he added that the problem was due to an error made by a Nigerian company. The error then led to data "bouncing off" China's "great firewall."

Udenna Corporation spokesperson Adel Tamano assured consumers that they will not allow national security to be compromised.

Rio also told legislators that the country's cybersecurity concerns are safeguarded by the National Security Plan and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

The memorandum circular for the 3rd telco also has cybersecurity provisions. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.

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