AFP welcomes Senate inquiry on construction of China-backed Dito cell towers

by Warren Ryan Revoltar

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said Tuesday that the AFP welcomes the planned Senate inquiry on the Memorandum of Agreement signed between the AFP and DITO Telecommunity allowing the construction of cell towers inside military installations.

“To the AFP, this is the opportunity to present to the honorable members of Congress the whys and wherefores of our decision to sign the MOA,” Arevalo said.

This statement came after Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday urged the Senate to immediately probe a recently inked deal allowing China-backed Dito Telecommunity Corp. to build cell towers in military camps.

“Are we allowing ourselves to be occupied? A China-owned telco in our own military camps is very suspicious, especially since China has not stopped its aggressive claims in the West Philippine Sea, its destruction of natural resources, and its abuse of Filipino fishermen,” warned Hontiveros, who as early as September 2019, filed Senate Resolution No. 137 which called on the upper chamber to investigate the national security implications of allowing the China-backed telco “to set up equipment and facilities within the military bases of the AFP in the country.”

Last Friday, the AFP downplayed the possibility of a security breach, calling it a “very low” risk. Maj. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, the AFP spokesman, said that Lorenzana signed the deal because he was satisfied by the measures instituted by the military “to ensure that national security will be protected.”

“It’s a low threat in terms of the raised concerns about spying, concerns about listening devices or eavesdropping. We have studied that,” Arevalo added.

This is a developing story

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