MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday vowed that the government will not allow the country’s security to be compromised, after the Senate sought to block payment for a Chinese CCTV-based emergency response system.
The Senate included in the proposed 2019 national budget two provisions that effectively block China’s “Safe Philippines Project,” a 12,000-camera surveillance system that was supposed to be piloted in Metro Manila and Davao City.
One of the provisions list 13 foreign-assisted projects which may be funded by the 2019 budget, and the Chinese-funded CCTV project was not on the list.
China critics have opposed this project, saying this puts the Philippines in a vulnerable situation.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said while he understands the apprehensions of some senators about the project, “this government will not allow any security leaks.”
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año earlier allayed fears of data breach or security violations in the agreement, stressing the project will only integrate existing CCTV systems to improve police response.
The CCTV cameras, said Año, would not be installed in inconspicuous areas. Only Philippine police officers and DILG personnel will be allowed to man monitoring stations of the CCTV system.
"No Chinese will be allowed to go there," he had said. "We have protocol and security measures installed. We will not give access to the Chinese or even to the company that constructed this."
The DILG chief said the project is very important because the Philippines is one of the few remaining countries in Asia without a Smart City or Safe City project.