Opposition senators slam selection of China Telecom as 3rd telco partner

Opposition senators have criticized the selection of the joint venture between Udenna Corp. and China Telecom as the provisional third major telecommunications player in the country.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV

In a joint statement, Senators Franklin Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Leila de Lima, Francis Pangilinan, and Antonio Trillanes IV said they don’t want the winning consortium to become another NBN-ZTE scandal.

“Our telecommunications need more industry players for the sake of the tens millions of Filipino consumers who deserve quality Internet and mobile services,” the statement read.

The selection of the joint venture, they said, should be examined carefully.

“What qualified it in the first place? Why were the other bidders booted out? What is the track record of the winning bidder in the telecommunications business? Was the government opening up the bidding to other players just a formality?

Masabi lang that the government went through the process? In December 2017, Malacanang said it wants the government to ensure that China Telecom can begin its Philippine operations by the first quarter of 2018. Ito na ba yun?”

The lawmakers said the government should be transparent about the said issued because allowing the joint venture to enter the industry means giving them access to daily communication activities — a security issue for country and the Filipino people.

“We long for a time when Filipinos would have free access to the Internet, when we could use our mobile phones without experiencing drop calls, when text messages would arrive on time, and when our private data would not be used without our knowledge or consent for commercial and intelligence. That’s why we need to do things right,” the statement said.

They added: “We do not want another NBN-ZTE ($329 million) and North Rail ($421 million) anomalous deals in our midst, which if not exposed, would have robbed the people billions of pesos.”

Two members of the House Representatives, however, said there is no reason for the public to be alarmed on the selection of the consortium comprised of China Telecom and the company owned by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy.

Buhay partylist representative Lito Atienza and Makati City representative Luis Campos Jr. Campos have both played down concerns of potential security risks with China Telecom.

Atienza pointed out that doing business and strengthening the country’s relationship with economic superpower China is the right move.

Campos, on the other hand, said risks are everywhere and that government regulators are there to manage those risks. “Besides, both PLDT and Globe are already at least 40 percent owned by foreign entities,” he said.

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