Minority solons caution gov’t on entry of China-based telco
Minority bloc solons have called on government to reconsider the entry of a China-based telecommunications company amid the brewing West Philippine Sea row.
In a press briefing on Wednesday, Minority Floor Leader and Quezon 3rd District Rep. Danilo Suarez said they are urging government to look into the presence of Chinese companies in vital utility areas, such as power generation, before awarding the third telco player contract to China Telecom,
“If you can recall, our electricity is now owned by China Power. Lahat ng kuryente natin, grid, ang may-ari niyan, although may mga Filipino nominee, at the end of the day it’s all China Power,” Suarez said.
“Of course we’re not foolish enough to go into a full-scale confrontation with China, but if the Americans will go against China, then we can be involved,” he explained.
He also added that allowing a foreign company, in this case from China, would also leave the country’s current telecom providers vulnerable to interruptions, whether done on purpose or not.
“So kanila na ‘yong kuryente, now comes the telecom. Kung papasok ang China Telecom, they will be the third player. There is no recourse but to interconnect in their mainframe, kailangan, paano kayo magkaka-tawagan kung hindi kayo connected sa mainframe?” Suarez asked.
“So, kung sakaling magkaroon ng hindi magandang relation at sinabing, rambolin mo ‘yang mainframe ng Smart saka Globe, pare-pareho tayong walang signal. That’s the scenario, it’s doable,” he added.
The National Telecommunications Communication (NTC) earlier said that of the companies that had placed their bids to become the country’s third telco player, only the consortium of China Telecom, Udenna Corp., and Chelsea Logistics Holding Corp. qualified.
Two other hopefuls, LCS-TierOne Consortium and the Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp, were disqualified for having submitted incomplete documents
Udenna is owned by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy, who is a friend of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Suarez also asked that government look to nearby countries for technology that can equal those being offered by Chinese companies who want to do business in the Philippines.
“What I am saying is that there are Korean technology, there is Japanese technology who can somewhat match what’s being offered by the Chinese. Why don’t we avail of these other countries’ technology?” he said.
“So that’s my concern. And in the event that they will push through with it, then I will go to court and invoke national security. Of course they can eavesdrop at your text and call, kung may mga tinatago kayong ginagawa, China Telecom will know that,” he added.
On the contrary, Minority member Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said that he sees no problem with China Telecom operating in the country, as long as they do the job right.
“I don’t want to contradict and go against the pronouncement of our leader, but on a general note, I said that we welcome the relationship being fostered with the Philippines and China on an economic venture such as this.
“Hindi po ako do’n sa typical thinking na masama ang Tsina, mabuti ang Amerika. Kung sila ang makapagbibigay ng serbisyo, if China can compete with these two giants, then we definitely welcome them,” he added. /muf
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.