AFP played role in choosing 3rd telco: Esperon

By Azer Parrocha

November 8, 2018, 5:36 pm

MANILA -- National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon on Thursday assured that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) played a role in the selection of the third telecommunications player in the country, allaying fears that it would compromise internal security.

The third telco that won the selection process, Mislatel, is a consortium between Davao City-based holding company Udenna Corp. and Chinese state-owned firm China Telecommunications Corp.

Esperon was reacting to Senator Grace Poe's statement that the AFP and other intelligence agencies should be involved in choosing the country’s third telco player.

Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, earlier raised concerns over the participation of a foreign firm in the bidding process.

“Just to let you know, the Armed Forces was considered there,” Esperson said in a press briefing at the Malacañang Golf Clubhouse.

“I agree lagi natin titingnan ang security ng ating (we always have to check the security of our) Communications and that’s really the reason we are there. We have inputted provisions for national security in the entry of the third main player,” he added.

Esperon pointed out that the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is currently led by a former military general, Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr., who has the expertise in both technology and military.

Rio has also served as commissioner of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and DICT undersecretary.

Gusto ko lang sabihin na ang Secretary ng Department of Information and Communications (Technology) ay isang retired military officer (I just want to say that the Secretary of the DICT is a retired military officer),” Esperon said.

Si Sec. Rio ay isang brigadier general na propesor namin yan sa Philippine Military Academy (PMA) nung kami ay kadete at ‘yan ay sanay sa technologies (Sec. Rio is a brigadier general who was also our professor at the PMA when we were cadets and he’s adept in technologies),” he added.

Esperon said he himself is member of the oversight committee on the selection of the third telco.

“We want our national broadband to be secure and, as much as possible, since it will be a personal network for the whole of government. Kaya secured po ’yan, secured. 'Wag kayo mag-alala (That’s secured. Don’t worry),” Esperon said. (PNA)