By Mario Casayuran
Opposition Senator Francis N. Pangilinan scored Thursday the Duterte administration for having absurd security and foreign policies.
Pangilinan said this after noting that the Philippine government has not only allowed the Chinese telecommunications corporations (telco) on Philippine soil, it has also laid the red carpet for Dito Telecoms (formerly Mislatel) inside Philippine military camps.
He said defense authorities were alarmed by Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) that are near military camps because of potential security concern.
‘’Paano pa itong nasa loob na mismo ng mga kampo? he asked. (How about these installations inside our military camps?)
‘’Why build these telco towers inside camps in the first place? Are there no other available sites for their towers? How much are they paying the government for these? How can we be assured that there will be no breach of national security and respect for the privacy of communications and correspondence?‘’ he added.
Pangilinan asked aloud if there are guarantees that the foreigners employed by DITO would not obtain crucial information to the detriment of Filipinos.
‘’What happened to the cybersecurity audit of the DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology) and the NTC (National Telecommunications Commission) on this third player?’’ Can we ask for a copy of this MOA between Dito and the AFP?’’ he asked.
He said the planned installation of electronic communications inside our military camps raises fears of electronic espionage and interference given the record of some Chinese firms for engaging in this illegal activity.
‘’This fear is especially acute given that China’s National Intelligence Law from 2017 requires Chinese companies to ‘support, assist, and cooperate with the state intelligence work’,’’ Pangilinan asked.
Atin ang Pilipinas (we own the Philippines) — the land, the waters, and the air. Huwag natin (let us not surrender i-surrender ito (this), kasama na ang naipanalong arbitral ruling sa para sa controlling stake sa joint (we have the UN Arbitration Court for) exploration ng (at) West Philippine Sea. We should be vigilant and keep watch as our safety and security are at stake,’’ he said.