Filipinos should welcome China Telecom as the third player in the Philippine telecommunications industry, instead of dwelling on the possible security risk issues its entry poses, a cybersecurity expert said on Thursday.
Rey Lugtu, president of digital transformation consultancy firm Hungry Workhorse, said Filipinos should give China Telecom or other foreign telcos a chance to compete with the so-called duopoly of PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom.
“Para gumanda ang internet [natin], we have to give chance to other telcos,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a press conference on the Cyber Security and the Internet of Things Forum, to be held at Enderun Colleges in Taguig City on January 31.
Lugtu said PLDT and Globe have entertained foreign partners to boost their network operations, noting the former’s partnership with Chinese telecom firm Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.
“Most of the networks supplied in PLDT comes from Huawei. You can look it up on the web [on]what kind of vendor Huawei is. Huawei is a professional company trusted by China and private investors [there],” he said.
“People are still worried, [but]there’s no evidence [of a cyberthreat.]Dahil China lang, nagiging allergic na tayo,” Lugtu added.
Worries over the security threats China Telecom poses emerged in December, when a report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer said allowing the Chinese company to access local telco infrastructures could bring “disaster” to the country as the “biggest cybersecurity threat to the Philippines came from China.”
But Allan Cabanlong, Department of Information and Communications Technology undersecretary for Cyber Security and Enabling Technologies, told The Manila Times the Philippines has to embrace innovation to upgrade telco services.
“As a government official in charge of cybersecurity, I always believe that we should not be affected by ‘pessimism,’ as this would hinder innovation. It’s OK for China Telecom or any telco to come in,” he said.
“If you think about negativity, wala na tayong improvement sa Pilipinas,” he added.
Lugtu also said Filipinos need to be knowledgeable on cybersecurity, given the changing times, to protect themselves from cyberattackers.