The Department of Information and Communications Technology, under the stewardship of Secretary Gringo Honasan, on Friday assured the public that the move to allow a Chinese telecommunications company to set up facilities inside military camps was not a cause for concern.
Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. made the assurance as he defended the proposed P5.2-billion DICT budget during the plenary deliberations at the House of Representatives Friday.
“There will not be any breach [of the country’s laws] as long as there is the DICT your honor,” Campos, who was a co-sponsor of the DICT budget, said in response to the query of Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, chairman of the House committee on constitutional amendments, raised the issue of the DitoTelecommunity which acquires 40 percent stake from China via Mislatel telco.
Campos reassured Rodriguez that DICT will not allow the country’s third telco to put up towers near military camps like the Armed Forces of the Philippines, among others, as it constitutes a violation of the 1987 Constitution on matters of national security.
Rodriguez, in his interpellation in the DICT budget, said that “foreigners should never be allowed in our military camps” and that DICT “should put a stop and will not grant the establishment of communications equipment” due to Chinese interest.
“They have to look for other venues other than the military camps,” Rodriguez said, to which Campos answered with a categorical “yes, that is correct.” “The AFP agreement to build cell sites is invalid and in violation of our national security provisions,” Rodriguez said.
AFP chief-of-staff, Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., earlier said there are ongoing efforts and activities to secure all military communications from espionage.
Also, Madrigal said partnering with Mislatel is nothing new as similar MOAs have been secured by private telcos Smart and Globe.
Based on the agreement, the AFP will determine specific locations with its rental value for use of Mislatel in the installation and management of its communications sites without undermining the operations of affected AFP units.
The telecommunication firm is also required to “furnish all equipment, labor, and materials necessary to effect the co-location of its facilities and shoulders all expenses in connection with or incidental to the co-location” and payment of all taxes, permits, licenses, and other charges.