There is nothing to fear from thedeal between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Dito Telecommunity which would allow the latter to build electronic communications facilities in military camps, the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) said on Wednesday.
PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar made this remark after Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan expressed concern that this deal with bilyonaryo Dennis Uy and China Telecom would allow electronic espionage and interference given the record of Chinese firms involved in this activity.
Andanar assured that security and information technology experts at the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) have fully addressed these concerns with security measures in place.
“The Constitution is very clear: The prime duty of the government is to serve and protect the people. To serve and protect covers safeguarding their interests, such as security and cybersecurity interests,” Andanar said in a statement.
“We are confident there would be no breach in security as safeguard measures would be put in place as a matter and part of security protocols,” he added.
He said among the safeguards include strict security clearances to individuals and information to ensure that no unauthorized data can enter or get out of military facilities where cell sites would be installed.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo bared that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was not aware of the AFP-Dito deal.
Panelo, however, assured that the government would abandon the deal if it would put the country’s national security at risk.
AFP chief-of-staff, Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., said Lorenzana has the prerogative to cancel or revoke any deal entered into by the military with any entity or organization.
He clarified that he did not bypass Lorenzana when he approved the agreement, adding that it is procedural for him to sign it first before sending it to the DND chief and his staff for scrutiny.
Duterte awarded Dito Telecommunity permit to operate as the country’s third telco provider on July 8, 2019. (PNA)