By Genalyn Kabiling
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar is confident that there will be no security breach in the planned installation of China-backed telecommunication facilities inside military camps.
Andanar said authorities have assured that strict measures would be implemented to safeguard the country’s security and cybersecurity interests.
“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 said in a statement.
“These may 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,” he added.
The country’s third major telco DITO, a consortium of Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp. and Chelsea Logistics with state-owned China Telecom, recently forged a deal with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to build facilities inside military camps in the country. The agreement triggered concerns about the possible Chinese espionage compromising national security.
Malacanang earlier said the government might pull out from the deal if national security will be compromised, adding the agreement will still be reviewed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) recently tried to downplay concerns about the military’s deal with the telco firm, saying the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has a cybersecurity management system platform to monitor any threats to cyberspace. Stringent physical and cybersecurity measures such as background checks of personnel and inspection of equipment will also established, DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio said last Tuesday.
Andanar has dismissed the concerns about the telco deal by the military as “fears bordering on paranoia.” He assured the public that the government would continue to protect the people and its interests.
“The Palace welcomes the assurance of concerned agencies knowledgeable on telecommunications operations, particularly the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), that the concerns, including fears bordering on paranoia, of some quarters on the memorandum of agreement of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with DITO Telecommunity, formerly Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. or Mislatel, have been thoroughly addressed by our security and information technology experts,” he said.
“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,” he added.