China Telecom to Supply Equipment to Philippines Military

On September 11, a consortium in which China Telecom is a member signed an agreement to install communications equipment (including relay towers) on Philippine military bases.  The Dito Telecommunity Corporation also comprises Udenna, Chelsea Logistics Holdings, and Mindanao Islamic Telephone.  China Telecom is expected to provide most of the equipment for the project.  The deal was criticized by opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros, citing national security risks and opaque decision-making.  It is still waiting for approval from Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who was reportedly overseas when the agreement was signed.  President Duterte’s office pushed back against the criticism, claiming the specifications were examined by government security experts, and that the fears were “bordering on paranoia.”

Beyond this agreement, there is escalating concern in the Philippines regarding the risk posed by Chinese telecommunications companies following the signing of two smart city agreements so far in 2019.