The United States government recently signed an Executive Order prohibiting U.S. persons and companies from engaging in business transactions constituting “any acquisition, importation, transfer, installation, dealing in, or use of any information and communications technology or service” with any company owned or controlled by a “foreign adversary” as a means of protection from U.S. national security risks. The E.O. did not specify the names of the companies/persons blacklisted, but Huawei was one of the companies affected.

With the executive order, U.S. companies are prevented from supplying Huawei with software and hardware components. This may affect the supply chain of the Chinese company but it will have a little impact in the Philippine telecommunications industry. The local telcos have made pronouncements that they will diversify in their present and future procurements of equipment to make their networks more robust and future proof.

On matters of cybersecurity, the incumbent telcos are to this day still strictly monitoring their network and up to now there was no incident of a national security breach from their respective network predominantly using Huawei equipment. The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will continue to require local telecommunication companies to monitor their networks through world-class cybersecurity audit teams and assure the government that their respective network will not be compromised or they may suffer losing their license to operate. The same requirement will also be imposed on the incoming third telco.

With the creation of DICT, the government has the tools to protect our cyberspace from any threats to our national security.