Philippines boosts its cyber security ahead of China Telecom’s entry into its market

China’s reputation in the cyber sphere precedes it. China Telecom is expected to start operations in the Philippines from the 1st quarter of 2018.

On Thursday, ahead of the entry of Chinese firms in Philippines telecom market, the country is making heightened efforts to beef up cybersecurity measures midst national security concerns.

Many senators have raised concerns on allowing Chinese state-run firms to build and manage crucial internet and telecoms system, given the two nations’ history of bitter mistrust and Beijing’s reputation in cyber security related issues.

“They should not worry because the government is already worried,” said Harry Roque, a spokesman for the president.

According to Roque, regulators have been ordered to take all measures to protect the country’s cybersecurity.

Unlike in the past, Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte has chosen to set aside the country’s territorial dispute over the South China sea and has decided to tap China for investments, loans and trade.

Last month, Duterte offered Beijing a chance to challenge the country’s dominant carriers, PLDT Inc and Globe Telecom Inc, perhaps in the hopes that more competition will bring down costs and improve performance. He wants a third telecoms operator to start service in the first quarter of 2018.

Beijing has selected China Telecom for the job which will now have to partner with a Philippine company because of a 40% cap on foreign ownership of domestic telecoms firms.

PLDT and Globe declined to comment.

PLDT stated it has set aside $997 million (50 billion pesos) for capital expenses next year as it readies itself to take on more competition.

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