MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday expressed concerns over the telecommunications deal between Chinese-linked Dito Telecommunity Corporation and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
While acknowledging the military was in the best position to decide on the matter, the Vice President said fears raised by critics of the deal would be quelled if plans of installing equipment inside military installations were aborted.
“Yung sa akin kasi, s'yempre ang pangamba mababawasan, yung pangamba mababawasan kung sa labas. Pero sa akin yung military ang nasa best position para mag-assess,” Robredo said.
(For me, of course, worries will be lessened if they will be installed outside of military bases. But also, the military is in the best position to assess that.)
Under the telco deal, the Chinese-linked firm will put its system, towers, and facilities within military premises in the country.
Robredo said the government must be wary of China due to its reputation.
“Yung sa akin lang, baka makakabuti sa atin na pakinggan ang concerns ng mga nakakaintindi dahil marami nga na mga bansa, mas simple to, na nag-aalalang gamitin yung technology na maaaring gamitin para mag-fish ng information galing sa kanila. Tapos tayo ia-allow natin sa loob pa ng military installations,” Robredo said.
(For me, it'd be better to hear concerns from those who understand like other countries who worry that technology might be used to fish for information from them. And us, we are allowing these in out military installations.)
She also noted that even Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was not initially aware of the telco deal.
“Merong mga defense experts na nagpahayag ng pagkabahala. Nakakagulat din yung sinabi na hindi alam ni Sec. Lorenzana, pero meron na siyang approval from the leadership of the AFP,” Robredo said.
(There are defense experts that expressed concerns about this. It's also surprising to learn that Sec. Lorenzana was not aware of this deal, but he has the approval from the leadership of the AFP.)
Malacañang earlier said the defense department will investigate the deal between the military and Dito Telecom amid concerns raised by lawmakers.