Philippines official raises alarm over military's deal with China Telecom

Armed Forces of Philippines signs MoA with corporation 40% owned by China Telecom

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File Photo: Duterte awards Chairman Dennis Uy certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for Dito Telecom (formerly Mislatel) on July 8 (Presiden

File Photo: Duterte awards Chairman Dennis Uy certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for Dito Telecom (formerly Mislatel) on July 8 (Presiden

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – An anonymous cyberintelligence official in the Philippines government has come forward to tell the media that a pending agreement between a Chinese telecom company and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is a “recipe for disaster.”

Following a memorandum of agreement (MoA) signed on Sept. 11, the Inquirer on Tuesday (Sept. 17) published a report in which an anonymous official raised the alarm about the national security of the Philippines. The source alleges there will be “irreversible consequences” if the deal involving Dito Telecommunity Corp., a conglomerate that is 40 percent owned by China Telecom, is approved.

Dito Telecom is managed by Dennis Uy, who is a close friend of President Rodrigo Duterte. The deal reportedly still requires the approval of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who was unaware of the MoA signing last week, reports the Inquirer.

According to the anonymous official, China’s drive for global power and its sophisticated state espionage apparatus make the telecom’s deal with the AFP a potentially dangerous decision. The official also lamented that the Philippines is far too unprepared to protect its cyber assets from a threat like China and that allowing it access to key infrastructure is a “recipe for disaster.”

“We cannot even fully guard the West Philippine Sea, even more so our cyber domain,” the media outlet reported the official as saying. Despite official assurances that the involvement of China telecom will not jeopardize national or cybersecurity interests, the anonymous source echoed the concerns of other nations, such as the U.S., which has warned that Chinese telecom companies are required to obey the dictates of the Chinese Communist Party.