Probe of Philippines, China CCTV project urged
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has sought an inquiry into the administration’s project with China to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in public places connected to a central command center, raising concerns about national security.
During budget deliberations, Recto had questioned the Safe Philippines Project with China International Telecommunication Construction Corp., as the latter had tapped Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. as an equipment supplier.
The Safe Philippines Project would put in place a video surveillance system linked via dedicated communications infrastructure. There would be integrated operations and command center that could take emergency calls from the public.
It was intended to reduce crime in the country.
In his resolution seeking the Senate probe, Recto said that even if the Philippines’ national security adviser had issued a certificate of no security issue for the project contractor, “recent developments placed considerable security risk in employing Chinese citizens, corporations and organizations to implement government programs and projects.”
He cited reports about Chinese companies and individuals being involved in hacking.
Huawei, in particular, has been involved in national security and data protection issues, Recto said.
It was accused of channeling data from computer servers in the African Union Building to servers in Shanghai, he said, citing news reports.
A Huawei former sales director in Poland was arrested, along with an official of a European cellular service provider, for espionage, he added.
“There is mounting concern that China may be using Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. as a proxy in Chinese intelligence operations or as a conduit to access sensitive networks,” he said.
The Philippines needed to safeguard classified action plans, programs and state secrets from espionage, and to protect itself from computer-generated attacks that could cause massive crises in the economy and financial institutions, Recto said.
“It is imperative that the Philippine government review and evaluate government programs and projects and their impact on national security and public interest,” he said.
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