Lorenzana inclined to approve AFP deal with China-backed telco
MANILA, Philippines — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Thursday said he is inclined to approve the agreement between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and China-backed telco firm Dito Telecommunity Corp.
He said the contract, which allows Dito to put up its communication equipment and facilities inside military camps, appeared to be the same with other telco providers — Globe and Smart.
“(There’s) nothing wrong. It’s the same with Globe and Smart,” he told reporters.
“I most probably will sign it,” he added.
Lorenzana, who will decide on whether to approve or reject the contract, was out of the country when the deal was signed in September.
State-owned China Telecom owns 40 percent of the consortium controlled by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy, a close friend of President Rodrigo Duterte.
There were concerns that the deal would leave the military more prone to Chinese spying.
But before he formally approves the deal, Lorenzana said he is still waiting for the comments from the senators who requested to review the contract.
At a budget hearing in late September, senators Franklin Drilon and Francis Pangilinan asked the defense chief to defer the approval of the contract until they have examined the memorandum of agreement./ac