Recto fears ‘connivance’ among Chinese companies in Philippines
MANILA, Philippines — The police and military should “connive” to ensure country’s national security, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said Wednesday as he raised a possible “connivance” among Chinese companies in the Philippines.
“Our AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) should connive, because there seems to be a connivance from them (Chinese companies); they’re entering the PNP, they’re entering the AFP,” Recto said during the Senate deliberations on the proposed 2020 national budget of the Department of National Defense (DND).
“Having said that, let me put on record, (that) there have been security concerns raised with China co-owning the Philippine grid,” he added.
The senator was referring to the National Corporation of the Philippine (NGCP), which is 40-percent owned by the Chinese government-owned State Grid of China.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, who was defending the budget of the DND, said he actually heard that the equipment for the NGCP arrived with Chinese characters and manned by Chinese personnel.
“That’s the point I was gonna drive at. Right now, yung buong kuryente ng Pilipinas, ang nagpapatakbo (the electricity in the country is being run by) the state grid of China, all the equipment is written in Chinese, hindi naiintindihan ng mag tao natin (our people can’t understand it), they can turn it off remotely. Ang giyera naman na darating ganun na eh (The war will be fought with) not necessarily missiles, [but] cyber war, and what is that? Telecommunications, ‘di ho ba (isn’t that right)?” Recto then pointed out.
“So nandyan na, nasa NGCP (It’s already there in the NGCP), and then part of the plan of China Telecom is to use the wires of NGCP for their mid mile telecommunication,” he added.
Recto also mentioned a the multibillion-peso Chinese-funded surveillance system project of the Duterte administration.
The funding for the surveillance system project was earlier blocked by the Senate after security concerns were raised.
Meanwhile, the AFP recently entered into a memorandum of agreement with Chinese-backed telecom Dito Telecommunity Corp. (former Mislatel), the country’s third telco player, to allow the installation of communication towers in military camps.
Recto then called on the country’s national defense and security to “look at all of this holistically.”
“We’re seeing what is happening…in the NGCP, in the telecommunications sector, not to mention there are bills filed in the Senate amending the public service act to allow foreigners 100 percent ownership,” he further said.
Lacson then relayed to Recto the DND’s assurance that it is undertaking precautionary measures.
“They’re doing it already actually, I was informed it’s being done already to make sure na ‘yung mga (that the) security concerns are addressed properly,” Lacson said. /je