Lorenzana yet to review, approve AFP deal with Chinese-backed telco
MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday said the memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the country’s newest telecommunications player, the Chinese-backed Dito Telecommunity Corp., has yet to undergo his review and get his approval.
Last week, AFP signed a MOA with Dito, a consortium of Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy that include China Telecom, Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp. and Udenna Corp., allowing the telco to install its facilities inside military camps and installations.
The AFP has said it sees nothing wrong with the contract as it claims they have similar existing arrangements with Globe and Smart.
At the time of the signing, Lorenzana was out of the country for a business trip. He would be back on September 20.
In a Palace press briefing on Monday, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Lorenzana had told him that he was unaware of the agreement.
“I am traveling kasi when this came out. When I inquired, the CSAFP (chief of staff, AFP) said the MOA is going to my office for my approval. So now I am aware of it and I will scrutinize it carefully before giving my approval. I’ll be back in Manila on the 20th,” the defense chief later told reporters.
Lawmakers and analysts have raised concerns that the deal could lead to possible espionage by China. /kga
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