Co-location MOA with telco firm passed gov’t scrutiny: AFP

MANILA The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Sunday said co-location memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Dito Telecommunity (former Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company or Mislatel) passed government scrutiny before being signed by the military.

This was emphasized by AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo after some sectors criticized the agreement on fears that it could be utilized for espionage activities.

"Alright, so first thing first, itong pagpirma ng AFP sa isang MOA between Dito Telecommunity yung dating MISLATEL (this signing of MOA between AFP and Dito Telecommunity, formerly Mislatel), it must be taken in the light of three reasons. Number one, this passed thorough government scrutiny when it comes to its fitness to do business in the Philippines, unang-una may (first, there is) government regulatory agencies naman tayo kagaya ng (like) Securities and Exchange Commission, I understand at ang (and the) National Telecommunications Commission na siyang mismong nakakaalam (which is knowledgeable) when it comes to operations ng (of) telecommunications, Arevalo said in a media interview.

Ikalawa, ang ibinibigay naman natin sa kanila (Second, what we give them) when we say allowing them in the military camps, hindi naman siya (it is not) physically co-located sa ating mga (with our) communications facility," he added.

The Dito Telecommunity is composed of Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Udenna Corp, and China Telecom.

It was conferred with the status of New Major Player in the telecommunications industry by the National Telecommunications Commission on November 19, 2019. The AFP and Dito signed the co-location MOA last September 11.

"Basically what we are providing is the venue kung saan (where) we will be able to lend them yung (the) relative security na maibibigay nung sinsasabing MOA na yun at yung mga locations na, kasi alam na ng AFP yung mga magagandang locations kung saan pinakamagandang mag-propagate ng (that the MOA can provide and those locations, because the AFP knows better locations that can propagate best) signal so that's the second reason, Arevalo said.

And the third reason is the AFP has already put up naman appropriate safeguards to address that particular concern of security and data security in telecommunications," Arevalo stressed.

The AFP spokesperson also said this third telecommunication company is in response to the "longing of the people to have better service".

"Please remember that the longing of the people to have a better service when it comes to telecommunications, so this is the third telco that they were asking, at ito kumbaga sinusuportahan ng (and this is what the) Armed Forces (is supporting) the decision of (the) government, the AFP is supporting and that's why we embarked on this memorandum of agreement," he added.

Earlier, AFP chief-of-staff, Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, Jr., said there are ongoing efforts and activities to secure all military communications from espionage.

Also, Madrigal said partnering with Mislatel is nothing new as similar MOAs have been entered with Smart and Globe.

Based on the agreement, the AFP will determine specific locations with its rental value for use of Mislatel in the installation and management of its communications sites without undermining the operations of affected AFP units.

The telecommunication firm is also required to furnish all equipment, labor, and materials necessary to effect the co-location of its facilities and shoulders all expenses in connection with or incidental to the co-location and payment of all taxes, permits, licenses, and other charges. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency