No security risk with Chinese firm as 3rd telco: Zubiri

By Jose Cielito Reganit

November 8, 2018, 8:34 pm

MANILA – Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri on Thursday downplayed concerns of potential security risks over the presence of a Chinese state-owned company in the consortium selected as the provisional new major telecommunications player in the country.

Appearing at the regular Kapihan sa Senado media forum, Zubiri said he sees no national security issues with China Telecom in play in the country’s telecommunications sector, citing the presence of other state-owned Chinese companies in other major sectors.

“National security concern, probably not because the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is 40 percent owned by a state-owned Chinese company. They are doing their part in helping develop our energy sector,” he said.

The NGCP is majority-controlled by Henry Sy Jr. ,along with Robert Coyiuto Jr. of Prudential Guarantee and Assurance, with the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) as technical partner. It holds a 25-year concession to operate and manage the country's power transmission facilities.

The Mislatel consortium -- composed of Dennis Uy's Davao-based Udenna Corporation and its logistics arm, Chelsea Logistics Holdings, together with state-owned China Telecommunications, and the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Corporation, Inc. (Mislatel) -- was selected Wednesday as the country's provisional third major telco that would go against PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom.

Zubiri said it would be unfair to imply that China Telecom’s presence in Mislatel would be a national security concern.

“I believe China Telecom is a publicly listed firm in mainland China. The books are open, they are transparent,” Zubiri said.

He stressed that what is important is that Mislatel lives up to its promises of better services, lower rates and faster Internet connectivity.

Based on its bid, Mislatel committed to provide 37.03 percent of the total Philippine population with an average Internet speed of 27 Mbps through a PHP 150-billion investment for the first year of its operation.

Through the second and fifth year of its commitment period, the consortium should have covered 84.01 percent of the total Philippine population, spending a total of PHP 258 billion and offering Internet services with an average speed of 55 Mbps. (PNA)