Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday assured the public that there is no cause for concern on Huawei’s involvement in the country’s telecommunications industry.
Lorenzana made the declaration even after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned of Huawei’s lack of transparency and the risks that the it poses to the Philippines during his recent visit to Manila.
“Wala naman akong nakikita eh. Kasi what can they not find outside of Huawei. Mukhang open naman tayo. Open naman silang makapasyal sa buong bansa , eh, ‘di ba?” Lorenzana said.
“Wala naman tayong sikretong maitatago sa mga ito. Even the Americans. Meron din ba tayong matago sa kanila?” he added
Lorenzana also brushed aside the possibility of the Chinese listening in on the country’s communication lines via the Chinese firm, saying that “Well that is a cause for concern if they are already interfering in our activities.”
“But I’m sure the [officials of the Department of Information and Communication Techology] are doing their job to secure us,” Lorenzana said.
“The DICT has assured us that, maganda naman yung kanilang vetting, our security is not compromised,” he added.
On Friday, Pompeo cautioned the Philippine government against dealing with Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei following allegations that the tech firm could be used by the Chinese government for spying.
Pompeo instead said that American companies were the “best partners” when it came to infrastructure, development and digital economy because they followed the highest standards of transparency and adhered to the rule of law.
“The same cannot be said for Chinese state-run or state-backed enterprises,” Pompeo said.
The Philippine government recently entered into a P20-billion contract with state-owned China International Telecommunication Construction Corporation for the “Safe Philippines” emergency response and monitoring system, with Huawei tapped to provide the equipment, including CCTV cameras.
“We believe that competition, whether it be 5G or some other technology ought to be open, free and transparent and we worry that Huawei is not that,” Pompeo said.
“America may not be able to operate in certain environments if there is Huawei technology adjacent to that,” he added.
“Our task has been to share with the world the risks associated with that technology, the risks to the Philippine people, the risks to Philippine security,” Pompeo said.