‘They’re just towers’: Esperon dismisses fears of Chinese espionage if Dito allowed inside PH military camps
MANILA, Philippines—National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. on Thursday (Sept. 10) played down security concerns over the deal to allow Dito Telecommunity, which has the backing of a Chinese state firm, to build communications infrastructure inside Philippine military camps.
Fears that the deal would expose the Philippine military to spying by China by giving Dito access to AFP camps had been lit up anew.
“That’s gibberish, what kind of spy?” Esperon told reporters, speaking in Filipino. “You’re too…”
“They’ll go inside the camp, their towers will be under our control. We should be glad instead,” Esperon said.
“I recommended that all schools, all municipalities, all villages should have towers,” he said. “What is the benefit of that? There will be wide coverage, won’t there be? Because we already know what we need,” he said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said at a budget hearing that he recently signed the deal with Dito Telco, which would pave the way for the company to install cell site towers in military camps. Inquirer.net learned that the contract was signed last May 5.
He said that Dito would be allowed only in camps where network providers Globe and Smart have cell site towers, too.
Dito Telecommunity is a consortium led by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy, which included Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Udenna Corp. and China Telecom.
“Globe and Smart have long been there. They also both use Huawei,” Esperon said. “And that’s only a tower. They’ll ask for permission if they’re entering,” he added.
“Whatever you use, if you want to conduct espionage, it doesn’t have to be in their presence,” Esperon said. “That’s the same in America,” he added.
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