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Senate to probe PH’s P20-billion CCTV deal with Chinese firm

The Senate is set to investigate the P20-billion deal between Chinese firm CITCC and the Philippine government which seeks to install 12,000 CCTV cameras in Metro Manila and Davao City.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto is set to file a resolution which seeks to probe the contract between the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Chinese state-owned China International Telecommunications and Construction Corp. (CITCC).

The deal was signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to the Philippines.

Recto said that his concerns are coming from CITCC’s supplier, Huawei, which was previously alleged to have been involved in breaching data and violating security rules particularly on the installment of spywares in their cameras.

Due to this, Huawei has been placed under blacklist by a number of countries.

“I have no problem with being closer with China, they can fund some of our infrastructure projects, as long as we get the best bang for our buck, as long as our national security will not be jeopardized,” Recto said.

Recto also noted the documents submitted by DILG in relation to the deal.

The senator said that DILG only submitted a timetable of the project and not a feasibility study of the project leading him to believe that the project was only pushed by CITCC during Xi Jinping’s visit.

When asked about the feasibility study documents, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said that the copies are with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to which Recto questioned why DILG does not have their own copy of the document.

The senator warned DILG that the interior department’s approved budget can still be reversed by the Senate.

The installment of the cameras aims to reduce crime rates in the cities by 15 percent and improve authorities’ response time to emergencies and crimes by 24 minutes.

The cameras also have facial and vehicle recognition softwares.

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