De Lima seeks probe on Chinese-funded P20-B CCTV project
MANILA, Philippines — Opposition Senator Leila de Lima has sought an inquiry into the P20 billion loan agreement with a Chinese telecommunications firm 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 filed Senate Resolution No. 978 on Dec. 20, urging the appropriate Senate committee to probe whether the deal between the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the China International Telecommunications and Construction Corp. (CITCC) “would infringe on the constitutionally-guaranteed right of privacy of the Filipino public and our national security.”
“Public interest requires that inquiry be made as to the threats to the Philippines’ national security contracts entered into with foreign companies whose questionable track-record raises international concern,” she said in a statement released on Saturday.
“The right of the people to privacy necessitates that an inquiry be made into the information sought to be collected through surveillance using equipment sourced from these Chinese companies,” she added.
The “video surveillance system” project 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 in crossings, roads, public plazas, business districts, science and technology parks, residential areas and stadiums, among others, with a national command center to be located in Clark, Pampanga, De Lima said.
The Chinese multinational telecommunication equipment and consumer electronics company Huawei will reportedly supply the equipment requirements of the multi-billion project.
The senator, however, pointed out that at least five countries, such as Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and United States, have doubted the integrity of Huawei-provided technology as they cited serious national security concerns.
“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.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has also warned the project could pose a “security threat.” /muf
Read the resolution here: Senate Resolution No. 978
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