Senate asked to probe P20-B CCTV deal with Chinese firms
How secure are Filipinos’ data in a Chinese company’s hands?
Sen. Leila de Lima has filed a resolution seeking a Senate inquiry into the Philippines’ P20-billion deal with China to install 12,000 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in Metro Manila and Davao City.
The deal was struck between the Department of Interior and Local Government and China International Telecommunication Construction Corp., an affiliate of China Telecommunications Corp., which is a partner of Mislatel Consortium.
Mislatel has been tapped to be the Philippines’ third telecommunications player.
Equipment for the project would be supplied by Huawei.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto was the first to sound the alarm over the project during budget deliberations and sought more information from administration officials.
De Lima, in her resolution, said she wanted to find out if the CCTV network project would infringe on Filipinos’ privacy and on national security.
She said reports showed that the governments of Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and the United States had raised concerns about the security of Huawei’s equipment.
“Granting China the opportunity to create a surveillance system in our country should raise a red flag for our policymakers,” De Lima said in a statement written from prison.
The issue, she said, was what the Philippines was giving up in exchange for the surveillance technology.
Her proposed investigation sought to determine the extent of Chinese access to data on classified information, national security, national defense, military and diplomatic secrets and other confidential matters of the state.
“Any agreement that could compromise the rights of our citizens and our national security must first pass through strict scrutiny to ensure that it would not be violative of our Constitution,” she said.
Under the P20-billion loan agreement, CCTV cameras would be installed in crossings, roads, public plazas, business districts, science and technology parks, residential areas and stadiums, among others.
The system included a national command center to be located in Clark, Pampanga. INQ
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