The commercial contract of Phase 1 of the Safe Philippines project is listed as no. 24 of 29 agreements released by Malacañang as signed during the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping last month.
Edd Gumban
DILG, Chinese firm to install P20-billion CCTV network
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - December 13, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and state-owned China International Telecommunications and Construction Corp. (CITCC) have entered into a P20-billion loan agreement to fund the installation of a vast network of security cameras – initially in Metro Manila and Davao – that raised security concerns and triggered moves in the Senate to stop the deal.

The commercial contract of Phase 1 of the Safe Philippines project is listed as no. 24 of 29 agreements released by Malacañang as signed during the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping last month.

Under the project, an initial 12,000 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be installed in Metro Manila and Davao City in 30 months.

The cameras will be located at crossings, roads, public squares, business districts, science and technology parks, residential areas and stadiums, among others.

The project’s ultimate outcome is a “Safe Philippines” that guarantees citizens’ good living and social economic stability for growth, according to a briefer from CITCC, which reportedly bagged the deal.

It aims to reduce crime by at least 15 percent and improve response time by 24 percent.

The system includes a national command center with backup data center to be located in Clark, Pampanga with facial and vehicle recognition software. It will also be linked to disaster response agencies in all regions once the entire project is in place.

Funding for the project was tucked into the P96-billion unprogrammed funds column in the proposed P3.757-trillion national budget for 2019.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto raised alarm over the contract and pushed that it be removed from the budget or at least put on hold until it is thoroughly reviewed.

“Don’t you think there is a security threat when China telecoms and Huawei will do surveillance system in Metro Manila?” Recto asked officials of the DILG during the agency’s budget hearing at the Senate on Tuesday night.

Officials of the Department of Information and Communications Technology said during the hearing that they were not consulted about the project.

Officials said the project was bidded out, with two other state-owned Chinese firms participating, namely China Machinery Engineering Corp. and a consortium of Huawei Technologies and some local firms.

The first bidder was not qualified while the consortium did not submit documents that left CITCC as the qualified company.

Recto noted that Huawei is blacklisted in many countries and one of its top officials was recently arrested in Canada on national security charges from the US.

CHINA INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND CONSTRUCTION CORP. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
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