De Lima: Limiting PH’s 3rd telco player to China ‘economically irrational’
Senator Leila de Lima has branded as “economically irrational” the government’s reported statement that it would limit the participation of a third player in the telecommunications industry to Chinese companies.
Malacanang earlier announced that China Telecom has been chosen by Beijing to invest in the Philippines. China Telecom is China’s largest telecommunication company.
According to De Lima, restricting the third player to China would mean that the government would exclude all other foreign companies from participating in the telco industry “no matter how more competent and more advanced their services and technology might be.”
“This economically irrational decision can only be explained with the shift in our foreign policy that now heavily leans towards China. After all, both governments do not mince words in describing the present as a golden age of PH-China relations,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.
“This situation serves the Duterte administration well especially now that it has made the Philippines a pariah state in the international community because of its human rights record.”
De Lima said only China has both the “international and regional clout” to give legitimacy to the Duterte government in the global arena by continuously ignoring its human rights situation. She noted how the Western democracies “have already all but treated the Philippine government as a rogue state because of its disregard for human rights.”
The entry of China’s telco, she said, might be good for the present administration, but not necessarily for the country’s future.
“The experience of countries like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Cambodia, and a host of other Asian and even African nations should serve as a lesson of how China ultimately demands for its pound of flesh once it decides to cash in. This is not to mention the security threat a Chinese telco poses to the country’s information and communication infrastructure,” she said.
“What will assure us that in the future, our national security and whole intelligence and defense systems won’t be compromised, if not under the complete control of a foreign government with national interests diametrically opposed to our own?” De Lima asked.
This was one of the very reasons why, she said, the national broadband network with China’s ZTE Corp deal was scuttled during the time of then President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“Do we really want a country who has most interest in undermining our national security to have a major role in our public utilities, especially communications?” De Lima also asked.
“Of course, this is no cause for worry for an administration bent on making the Philippines a Chinese satellite. Already the intention is to make China our center, shunning Western democracies, but without the economic independence and self-sufficiency of the other progressive ASEAN nations to enable us to stand our ground against the Chinese juggernaut,” she said.
The senator then called for an end to what she described as “undesirable dystopia” from becoming a reality. /kga
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