De Lima seeks probe of P10-billion deal between Chinese telco, DILG for installation of CCTVs in Davao, M. Manila

(Eagle News)–Senator Leila de Lima is seeking a probe into what she said was a P10-billion loan agreement between the Department of the Interior and Local Government and a Chinese telecommunications firm for the installation of an initial 12,000 closed-circuit television cameras in public areas in Metro Manila and Davao City.

In filing Senate  Resolution No. 978, De Lima said the deal between the DILG and the China International Telecommunications and Construction Corp. (CITCC) could “compromise the rights of our citizens and our national security..”

She noted that China was a  country “fast gaining international notoriety for its aggressive espionage activities..”

She said at  least five countries, such as Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and United States, have “doubted the integrity of Huawei-provided technology” which the CCTV cameras would use, citing “serious national concerns.”

Australia in particular, she said, is  “preparing to ban Huawei from supplying equipment after its intelligence agencies raised concerns that Beijing could force the Chinese telco to hand over sensitive data.”

She also noted the warning of US Intelligence agencies against the use of smartphones made by Huawei “on the ground that the Chinese telco has the capacity to maliciously modify or steal information, and even to conduct undetected espionage.”

“It is not a mere question of getting technological capability to enforce our laws but also of what we are giving up in exchange for this technology, notably giving a foreign government access to information from our country and our citizens,” De Lima said.

“Any agreement that could compromise the rights of our citizens and our national security must first pass through strict scrutiny to ensure that it would not be violative of our Constitution,” she added.