Former intel officer warns vs entry of China Telecom
A retired intelligence officer who held a delicate post at the height of China’s artificial island-building in the South China Sea told the Inquirer that the entry of China Telecom into the Philippine market poses a national security threat.
“It’s going to be a long-term disaster for us,” he said, observing that President Rodrigo Duterte “is so enamored with China.”
“We’re dead. They [will] now have access to our telecom infrastructure,” added the former officer, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said on Sunday that acting Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. told a recent Cabinet meeting that China Telecom was ready to enter the Philippine market.
In a bilateral meeting with Chinese Primier Li Keqiang last month, Mr. Duterte invited China to invest in the country’s telco industry.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, in a Nov. 20 press briefing, said Mr. Duterte had offered China the “privilege” of operating as the third telco player to “break up” the duopoly of PLDT and Globe Telecom.
The former intelligence officer said that the biggest cybersecurity threat to the Philippines came from China.
Former President Benigno Aquino III also said having a Chinese firm in the local telco market could have national security implications.
Aquino recalled that years ago, the United States and Australia cited national security as a reason why they did not allow Chinese communications and technology firms to take part in businesses in their countries.