MANILA - Senators on Wednesday expressed concern over the government's choice of a Chinese company to set up a third telecommunications player in the country.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday improving telecommunications in the country should not be a choice between "duopoly and national security."
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the government should "exercise caution" on security, especially since Chinese companies are state-owned. Chinese companies have also invested in the country's power infrastructure, he said.
The senators issued the statements as the government selected China Telecom to set up a third player to challenge the dominance of Globe Telecom and Smart Communications.
“China Telecom: the heck of a choice between duopoly and national security. One is doom; the other, doomier. Isn’t there a third alternative?” Lacson said on Twitter.
President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman, Harry Roque, said on Tuesday that the chief executive wanted the third player up and running by the first quarter of next year.
Roque had said earlier that China Telecom would be tapped to help strengthen bilateral ties between Manila and Beijing. he said security concerns would be looked into.
Detained Sen. Leila de Lima also expressed apprehensions, saying: "What will assure us that in the future, our national security and whole intelligence and defense systems won’t be compromised, if not under the complete control of a foreign government with national interests diametrically opposed to our own?"
-- with reports by Sherrie Ann Torres