Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has warned that the government’s deal with the China-led Mislatel Consortium to build communication facilities inside Philippine military camps might pose a threat to the country’s national security and sovereignty.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, urged Congress to seriously inquire into the consequences of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“Nakataya ang seguridad ng ating bansa sa kasunduang ito. This agreement sets a precedent that our national security is lax and that China can now easily buy our public officials and generals into setting up espionage equipment, disguised as communication facilities right inside our military camps!” she said.
“Any time now, this Trojan Horse will be knocking on the gates of different facilities and expose our other vulnerabilities,” De Lima added in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 606.
Last Sept. 11, the AFP reportedly signed the deal with Mislatel. Under the deal, AFP claimed it will identify specific locations where Mislatel can install and manage communication equipment “without undermining the operations of affected AFP units.”
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, however, claimed he was uninformed about the Philippine military’s deal with Mislatel, which is notably poised to become the country’s 3rd major telecommunications player, under the name Dito Telecommunity.
Asserting that Congress needs to exercise its oversight function into the matter, De Lima threw her support behind Sen. Risa Hontiveros’ proposed Senate Resolution No. 137 seeking to investigate the national security implications of AFP’s deal with Mislatel.
“Congress needs to assert its oversight function and look into this MOA between the AFP and Mislatel Consortium. I fully support Sen. Risa Hontiveros’ Senate Resolution to look into the agreement as our sovereignty is already in a compromising position,” she said.
“There are many deals this administration has made with China-backed institutions, many of which have been blacklisted for their anomalous transactions. But this MOA takes the cake for virtually giving away our national security to China in a silver platter,” she added.
The lady Senator from Bicol likened what she called a treacherous MOA between the AFP and Mislatel to that of Duterte’s move to set aside the country’s claim over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) and enter into onerous deals with the Chinese government.
“Since the start of the Duterte administration, the public remains in the dark over the deals the government has been making with China. We do not know what the exact consequences of these deals are,” she said. “We just might wake up one day with our sovereignty totally stripped off our nation, all because of the deals President Duterte made with China,” she added.
Amid the Philippines’ rightful claim over the WPS and China’s continued aggression in the disputed islands, Mr. Duterte continues to betray the country by entering into shady deals with China and maintaining its policy of kowtowing to China.