By Junex Doronio
SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY could be somewhat a brutal term to refer to the Duterte Administration’s accommodation of DITO Telecommunity Corporation, of which 40 percent of its shares is owned by China Telecom.
Despite national security concerns being raised by various sectors, DITO was still able to launch its commercial operations on 08 March after passing the first test mandated by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) as the third-party telco.
The government was apparently oblivious to the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey—done from July 3 to 6, 2020—that showed Filipinos’ mistrust in China.
A mobile phone survey conducted nationwide by SWS showed that Filipinos’ trust in China fell from “poor” to “bad” with a net trust rating of -36. The figure was down by 9 points from its net trust rating of -27 in December 2019.
In spite of Duterte’s lavish praises on China as a “friend”, the trust rating for China is the lowest since the “bad” net trusting rating of -37 seen in April 2016, a few months before Duterte assumed the presidency.
A young Filipino-American residing in Daly City in California, USA, wrote a business columnist and mercilessly castigated the Philippine government’s footsie-play with China.
He minced no words in lambasting China for its “unapologetic grabbing” of the country’s islands in the West Philippine Sea.
Twenty-two-year-old James Howard is not alone in this observation.
He may have spent half of his life in Makati City before migrating with his family in 2011, but Howard rightly says that “it’s unconscionable for the Philippine Government to kowtow to China, knowing fully well its brazen island-grabbing [citing] a fictitious nine-dash line to justify its bully behavior against its Southeast Asian neighbor.”
He cited that several China-owned tech companies have been banned in the US precisely for national security concerns.
“Considering how sophisticated US counter-surveillance operations are, I wonder how the Philippines can make do with its antiquated surveillance system to counter China’s cyber spying,” Howard wondered aloud.
The Duterte administration has trumpeted the entry of DITO as a victory against the “inefficient duopoly” of Globe and Smart telecommunication companies.
Besides, how can presidential friend Dennis Uy, who owns 60 percent of DITO, afford to fail his bosom buddy?
But despite all assurances, the eerie feeling still persists. Why? China Telecom, the 40 percent technology partner of DITO, is a Chinese state-owned telecommunication company, the largest fixed-line service, and the third-largest mobile telecommunication provider there.
DITO’s parent organizations are the Government of China and the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.
As the saying goes: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”