Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has approved the contract with China-backed third telco DITO Telecommunity.
The agreement paves the way for the telco to build cell sites inside Philippine military camps, despite the security risks that these sites might cause in the country.
Lorenza said he “signed the contract recently” on September 8 during the deliberations on the 2021 DND budget at the House of Representatives, in which Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez raised his concern about the contract.
Last year, senators appealed to reconsider the contract, but Lorenzana explained that he did not receive any recommendations from them on how to modify the agreement.
Previously, Lorenzana said that Chinese nationals can spy the country using the third telco, but with the signing of the agreement, he assured that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would set up “safeguards” to avoid any security breaches.
Meanwhile, homeowners of an AFP village in Taguig is set to face DITO Telecommunity in a referendum, after they filed a petition citing cybersecurity concerns involving the telco.
Globally, China has been slammed by several developed countries due to the allegations of national security concerns, banning Chinese technology providers the likes of Huawei and ZTE.