De Lima said yesterday the Senate probe would determine if the agreement with a state-owned Chinese telecommunications firm would infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed right of privacy of the Filipino public and our country’s national security.
Edd Gumban
Senate urged: Probe P20-B CCTV deal
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - December 30, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila de Lima is calling for a Senate inquiry into the government’s P20-billion loan agreement to fund the installation of an initial 12,000 closed-circuit television (CCTV) security cameras in public areas in Metro Manila and Davao City.

De Lima said yesterday the Senate probe would determine if the agreement with a state-owned Chinese telecommunications firm would infringe on the constitutionally guaranteed right of privacy of the Filipino public and our country’s national security.

“Granting China, a country fast gaining international notoriety for its aggressive espionage activities, the opportunity to create a surveillance system in our country should raise a red flag for our policymakers to ensure that none of our national interests are compromised by such agreements, particularly our national security,” she said.

De Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 978, which urges the appropriate Senate committee to look into the loan deal between the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the China International Telecommunications and Construction Corp. (CITCC).

She said the Senate should determine the extent of these Chinese firms’ access to classified information, national security and defense, military and diplomatic secrets and other confidential or sensitive matters.

The P20-billion loan agreement for the installation of an initial 12,000 CCTV security cameras in just 30 months was one of the 29 agreements signed during the state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping last Nov. 20.  

These security cameras will be installed at crossings, roads, public plazas, business districts, science and technology parks, residential areas and stadiums, among others. The system includes a national command center to be located in Clark, Pampanga. 

Under the contract entered between the DILG and CITCC, the Chinese multinational telecommunication equipment and consumer electronics company Huawei will reportedly supply the equipment requirements of the multi-billion project.

De Lima, however, pointed out that at least five countries, such as Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and United States, doubted the integrity of Huawei-provided technology as they cited serious national security concerns.

De Lima said Australia is also preparing to ban Huawei from supplying equipment after its intelligence agencies raised concerns that Beijing could force the Chinese firm to hand over sensitive data.

She also cited the warning of US intelligence agencies against the use of smartphones made by Huawei on the ground that the Chinese firm has the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information and even to conduct undetected espionage.

CLOSED-CIRCUIT TELEVISION LEILA DE LIMA
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