National security down the line

China telco player launches in VisMin

By Raadee S. Sausa

|   First of three parts   |


AMID GROWING public debate at home about the entry of the third telco player, which is linked to a state-owned Chinese company, President Rodrigo Duterte strongly upheld the 2016 arbitral ruling that nullified China’s “nine-dash-line” claim in the South China Sea at the UN General Assembly.

A recent Philippine Bar Association webinar examined this issue and looked into the geopolitical and national security implications of a China-backed telco operating in the Philippines.

Retired senior associate justice Antonio Carpio emphatically raised security concerns, now that the government allowed DITO Telecommunity Corp. partner China Telecom (ChinaTel) to install towers and facilities within Philippine military camps.

In an unprecedented move, DITO, the country’s third major player in the telecommunications industry heralded its entry into the market by announcing that it will be providing free calls and texts as well as broadband services to 3,000 front liners in 10 areas in the Visayas and Mindanao with the help of the local governments as a way of strengthening its commitment on nation building and partnership with the Filipino people.

This announcement, capped by a ceremonial turn-over to Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte Carpio and Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte as 300 front liners of the City were named as the first beneficiaries out of the 3,000 targeted frontliners became the highlight of the commercial launched on 08 March.

China’s law requires any Chinese citizen or corporation to cooperate with the state intelligence services of China and are bound to give any information they have to Chinese intelligence agencies.

In a recent statement, Chinese President Xi Jinping instructed the direct participation of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) over private enterprises.

In particular, the United Front Work Department, the intelligence-gathering and influence-making arm of the CCP, has been linked to several espionage, disinformation, and infiltration schemes in other states. The grander Chinese strategy is to exploit cyber and digital platforms for CCP’s hybrid warfare.

With telecommunications the carrier of data and communications, ChinaTel’s ties to the CCP pose a critical national security problem, given the leeway it will now have in the Philippines to access Government and military information.

–   To be continued  –

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