Huawei, ZTE implicated in US congressional report

SPY BITS (The Philippine Star) - October 9, 2012 - 12:00am

A soon-to-be-released US House Intelligence Committee report has determined that Chinese technology giants Huawei and ZTE pose “serious security threats” to the United States, with the report saying both companies “cannot be trusted” to be free of foreign (meaning Chinese) influence. The report also alleged that Huawei had engaged in illegal behavior including bribery, corruption and immigration violations, basing conclusions on classified and unclassified documents as well as internal Huawei documents reportedly provided by a former employee detailing “special network services” to an unnamed client believed to be no other than the Chinese Army’s “cyber warfare unit.”

Accusations of hacking, intellectual property theft and cyber espionage has hounded both ZTE and Huawei, with US counterintelligence officials claiming that sensitive data theft can cost the US an estimated $398 billion. Huawei in particular has long been suspected of espionage owing to its founder Ren Zhengfei’s ties to the Chinese military – and this in turn has resulted in repeated failures in Huawei’s attempt to enter the Western market, first when it tried to acquire computer-equipment manufacturer 3Com in 2008, followed by the move from the Australian government to ban it from participating in a $37 billion broadband network project.

Not surprisingly, Huawei officials denounced the report as a “dangerous political distraction,” warning that this “recklessly threatens American jobs and innovation.” Observers are waiting to see whether this will escalate into a full-blown technology and cyber warfare between the two giants.

GCC air deals can help Phl economy soar

News about the recent air deal between the Philippines and Saudi Arabia increasing the number of flights to Jeddah/Riyadh from the current 10 per week to 21 has perked up travel industry players. Many are expressing hope that other trade partners from the Gulf Cooperation Council – that wealthy and influential bloc of Gulf states that is being praised to high heavens by IMF chief Christine Lagarde for doing their bit to stabilize the global economy – will likewise ink bilateral air service agreements with the Philippines soon.

Aside from the fact that some three million overseas Filipino workers are deployed in Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states, local airline companies such as PAL and Cebu Pacific have been rather aggressive in their pursuit for expansion knowing that increased frequencies can also help boost revenues in the trade and tourism sectors. Whichever way you look at it, the recent agreement can be considered a landmark deal considering that at present, no local airline flies to the Gulf region.

Last year, President Noynoy Aquino signed EO 29 also known as the pocket open skies policy granting unlimited rights to foreign carriers to all points of the country save for

the Manila terminals – specifically the Ninoy Aquino International Airports 1, 2 and 3. In which case, PAL president Ramon Ang’s plan to build a new airport just 15 minutes away from Manila will fit right into the picture. While Clark Airport has seen its passenger traffic increasing to over 60 percent from January to August this year, international passengers (businessmen, tourists, etc.) still prefer Manila as the country’s main gateway.

Newly appointed Transportation Secretary Jun Abaya certainly has his work cut out for him considering the critical role his Department plays in many aspects of the economy. DOTC insiders informed Spy Bits that among those who have been efficiently doing their work sans fanfare is Civil Aeronautics Board executive Director Carmelo Arcilla, described as a “professional and experienced civil servant” who understands complex aviation laws – which should not be surprising since Arcilla is a lawyer after all. Aside from his familiarity with the network of airline players both in the local and global scene, Arcilla (“Teng” to close friends) is savvy when it comes to policy execution, implementation and administration of laws and regulations pertinent to the economic aspect of the aviation industry, insiders confirmed.

But apparently, the CAB executive director’s efforts is not concentrated on industry players alone since he is also on the lookout for passengers’ welfare judging from the way he has been pushing for the passenger bill of rights that, among other provisions, requires airlines to provide refunds and adequately compensate stranded passengers due to overbooking and other delays determined as the carrier’s fault.

Businessmen upbeat over WB upgrade

Not surprisingly, businessmen are upbeat over the recent World Bank report increasing the Philippines’ growth outlook from 4.6 percent to five percent – a very positive development considering the global economic slump threatening many other nations particularly in Europe. Expectations are high given government’s projections that infrastructure spending will reach P750 billion up to 2016.

Analysts have been urging government to increase infrastructure spending, estimating record high investments to reach up to P400 billion yearly on the heels of an infra spending boom. With momentum slowly building as seen in the number of projects having been given the green light, notably airport upgrades and construction as well as expressway and toll projects awarded to private developers, government must act soon considering the slow processing that can still happen from the time the contract is awarded to actual project implementation/construction down to completion.

While the country still has a long way to go as far as peace in Mindanao is concerned, businessmen are hopeful that the path towards peace will be less bumpy now that an initial agreement has been reached between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The cost of the war in Mindanao has been heavy not only between the government and MILF forces – but most especially the hapless civilians who are deprived of an opportunity to live peaceful, productive lives – ironic considering that Mindanao is known to be the food basket of the Philippines, rich with resources and opportunities that can make it a great economic contributor. Let’s hope we will see a lasting solution. 


Email: spybits08@yahoo.com

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