Palace confident no security breach in PH military, Chinese telco deal

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 18 2019 04:35 PM

MANILA — Malacañang is confident that security measures were upheld in the Philippine military’s deal with Chinese telco firm DITO Telecommunity Corp. to construct facilities inside military camps.

The Palace is assured that there would be no security breach concerning the agreement, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Wednesday in light of concerns that it could be used for espionage.

“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,” Andanar said in a statement.

“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.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) last week signed a deal with DITO Telecommunity, the consortium tapped to be the Philippines' third telco player, allowing it to put its system, towers, and facilities within military bases in the country.

But critics of the deal are wary because of claims that China was behind data breaches and major hacking incidents in other countries.

Formerly known as Mislatel, the DITO consortium is expected to begin commercial operations by 2020.

Andanar said measures that may be implemented as part of the deal include strict security clearances to ensure that no unauthorized data can enter or get out of military facilities where the cell sites would be installed.

The Palace earlier said the Department of National Defense would investigate the deal after its chief Delfin Lorenzana claimed he was unaware of the agreement.