The Philippines is perhaps one and only country to have ever allowed foreign entities access in its military bases and installations. And China isn’t only a foreign entity but also the shamelessly encroached Philippine territory despite the recent arbitration win which debunks their historical rights over our seas.
Mislatel under the name Dito Telecommunity will be the country’s third telco company operated by Davao businessman and Duterte ally backed by Udenna Corporation, Chelsea Logistics, and China Telecom, which is controlled by the Chinese government.
Major General Adrian Sanchez Jr, AFP deputy chief of staff for communications, electronics, and information systems (CEIS), and Adel Tamano, Mislatel chief administrative officer, signed a memorandum of agreement at the AFP General Headquarters in Quezon City on Wednesday last September 11, 2019.
These arrangement raised fears amongst security analysts and experts including opposition senator Kiko Pangilinan who lamented on how ”absurd” this idea were given that Chinese intelligence laws forces all Chinese company to give in private data of their customers with the request of the Chinese government.
Chapter 1, Article 7 of China’s National Intelligence Law states, “Any organization or citizen shall support, assist, and cooperate with the state intelligence work in accordance with the law…”
So in effect, these companies backing up Mislatel were simply Chinese puppets to siphon intelligence data from in host countries they’re in. Such was the case with Huawei where US government opted to blacklist them from supplying 5G hardware to US consumers. So long as China demands Chinese companies to surrender private data o the Chinese government then so does our fear of foreign espionage.
Chinese tourists shamelessly entered a military base in Palawan and now Chinese company controlling a portion of our military base and facilities?
Now the biggest irony is that — this country ”China” is actually hostile to us to a point that we can confidently call them an enemy who even until now continues to control the West Philippine Sea, refuses to abide to International Law and continues harass our own fishermen and any other Filipino vessel in the area. In fact, according to Duterte himself. China won’t enter oil exploration deal with Duterte since they now require the Duterte government to declare and nullify the said ruling in favor of China. Which could be ground of impeachment if Duterte agreed set aside arbitration ruling in his bid to enrich his and his cronies pockets.
I tell you, this isn’t going very well. Here are the risks that Chinese company controlling a portion of our military installations and bases whilst having access to our critical telco infrastracture
- Chinese access to our telecommunications network would spook many US and other Western companies who outsourced many of their work in the Philippine BPO industry. This will result to massive pull-outs of Western clients and many Filipinos losing their jobs in the BPO industry.
- China will have unrelentless access to Filipino user data even government transactions and transmitted data can now be fully intercepted by the Chinese government. No Filipino netizen will be safe from espionage unless they’re ready to use VPN software to counter the threat.
- China may be able to control and manipulate transmitted data over our telco network and that includes transmitted number of votes during an automated election if they may be assisted with the current regime including encryption data etc.
As it is evidently clear that having a third-telco wouldn’t change just as much. In fact, we are losing party in this bargain since only Duterte and his cronies will ever benefit from it while exposing the country in a very serious national security vulnerability. All of Duterte’s dealings now will have negative and serious repercussions in the future.