Concerns
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - August 19, 2019 - 12:00am

Too security conscious? This is what the Palace is saying on the proximity of Philippine offshore gaming operators manned by mainland Chinese to the country's military camps. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is uncomfortable with this situation. He states there may be no worries today but what about in the coming years?

The idea of China having spies in the country who could easily enter through these hubs is not farfetched. As an immediate retort, Chinese Ambassador Zhoa Jianhua asked what if they thought the same of our OFWs in China, adding it is not a good way to think about the situation. A veiled threat if I ever heard one.

Maybe what Secretary Lorenzana is saying is China has espionage capability, certainly more than the country. The Philippines is not the only one that thinks so. A Chinese cellphone brand from China is currently suspected of being able to engage in espionage and therefore its networking equipment has been banned in several countries.

So Lorenzana's concerns are not necessarily out of place. Add that to the fact that the number of mainland Chinese nationals working in the country is almost equal to the number of members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Trust in China is still very low among the country's population.

It is important that President Duterte bring up and discuss these various issues with China President Xi Jinping when they meet again this August, specifically the sailing of Chinese warships in the Sibutu Strait without informing the military.

The warships even turned off their automatic information system so they would not be detected. Why would they do that? Are they testing the AFP's capabilities? Do they even care about sailing protocols of the country considering the closeness of Duterte with anything China? According to the Palace, this is not what friends do. Rightly so.

Filipino-Chinese businessmen are divided on the prevalence of POGOs in the country. They do bring in a lot of revenue for the country. Even the property sector is booming especially in the Manila Bay area where most are located. The problem is actually finding more places for them to set up shop.

But it is essentially gambling which many believe is not a good business or even "negative business". If all forms of gambling in China is illegal, then why does it seem fine for them to operate in the country? I could even ask the Chinese embassy that question. I can equate it to the trash other countries sent to us like what Canada and others have already done. Or is the amount of money coming in offsetting everything else?

I guess that's how a majority of politicians think.

DELFIN LORENZANA
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