Recto calls for probe on China-assisted ‘Safe Philippines Project’
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto has sought an inquiry into the Chinese government-assisted P20-billion “Safe Philippines Project,” saying there is a need to mitigate potential risks to national security or public interest.
In Senate Resolution No. 990 filed on Wednesday, Recto said the project, which includes the installation of an initial 12,000 closed-circuit television (CCTV) security cameras in public areas in Metro Manila and Davao City, should be reviewed and evaluated by the government.
“It is imperative that the Philippine government review and evaluate government programs and projects and their impact on national security and public interest,” the senator said.
Recto warned last year that the project could pose a “security threat,” while Senator JV Ejercito said there’s a “big chance” the project would be rejected by the Senate.
Chinese companies and individuals, Recto noted, have also been allegedly involved in espionage and hacking activities over the recent years.
The primary equipment supplier of the winning contractor for the “Safe Philippines Project” Phase 1, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., has been “increasingly embroiled in issues concerning national security and data protection,” the senator warned.
“The National Security Policy for 2017-2022 highlighted the need to safeguard the Philippine classified action plans and programs, government intentions, and state secrets from espionage and other hostile actions, and the need to shield the country from computer-generated attacks that could cause massive crises in our economy, banking and financial institutions, communications, and other critical infrastructure,” Recto pointed out.
Opposition Senator Leila de Lima has also sought an inquiry into the loan agreement between the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the China International Telecommunications and Construction Corp. saying it “would infringe on the constitutionally-guaranteed right of privacy of the Filipino public and our national security.” /jpv
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