If the Defense Secretary was left clueless about the China Telecom-AFP deal in his own backyard, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said it would be likely a radar system be installed in his office.
“If this deal can fly stealthily under the nose of the man responsible for our nation’s defense, then it raises anew the vulnerability of our borders from intruders,” he said.
He said the project to allow a Chinese telco to install towers inside our military camps should have been cleared at the highest level due to its security implications.
“The concern that these could morph into embedded listening devices, and that the project is like letting an electronic Trojan horse into our camps, should have been subjected to third-party expert study,” also said Recto.
Meanwhile, the Department of Information and Communications Technology assured the public the country was secure from electronic threats and espionage amid opposition against the deal allowing a Chinese company to set up facilities inside military camps.
DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said Tuesday the National Telecommunications Commission and the department’s Cybersecurity Bureau could monitor cyberspace threats if there would be.
“We expect stringent physical and cybersecurity measures, including strict background checks of personnel and thorough inspection of equipment, never allowing foreigners to enter any communication facilities, would be put in place by agencies of the government knowledgeable in telecommunications operations,” Rio said in a statement.
Some senators have expressed worries over a memorandum signed last week by Dito Telecommunity, formerly Mislatel, and the AFP to build telco facilities in military camps to give it a fair chance to compete with networks Smart and Globe.
While stressing that it is not a cause for concern, the DND on Tuesday said it would still go over the memorandum of agreement the Armed Forces of the Philippines signed with Dito Telecommunity (formerly Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company or Mislatel).
DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong, in an interview with reporters, said the military had yet to transmit the MOA to the DND.
Also, once the MOA is forwarded to the DND, Andolong said it would pass through all concerned offices for scrutiny.
Earlier, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief, Col. Noel Detoyato said the military was open to any investigation that would look into its co-location memorandum MOA with Dito Telecommunity.
“We’re open to any investigation [on the MOA with Dito Telecommunity] and we’re open to show them other details of the MOA,” he said in Filipino. With PNA