PNP to 'look into' Huawei amid China surveillance fears

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) will look into allegations against Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, police chief General Oscar Albayalde said on Monday, April 29.

"I direct the DIDM to check on that...We will look into that. The director of the DIDM is here. He will look into those allegations," Albayalde said after he was asked for his reaction on the PNP getting Huawei as the biggest sponsor in their anti-cybercrime summit in March.

Albayalde was referring to the PNP's Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management (DIDM), which supervises possible criminal investigations. Under the DIDM is the powerful Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

What controversies? Huawei has been flagged by several countries, fearing that dealing with the tech titan could lead to vulnerabilty to Chinese surveillance.

On April 22, the London-based newspaper The Times published a report saying the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has evidence that Huawei received funding from several branches of the Chinese government. (READ: CIA says Huawei received state funding – report)

During his March visit, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has also warned the Philippines of the risks it may face in partnering with Huawei, adding that it cannot be trusted.

PNP and Huawei: According to Albayalde, Huawei's sponsorship of their anti-cybercrime summit would not give it undue advantage in security or in the public biddings for equipment.

"We favor no one here when we conduct bids. Everything is above board. You can see the bids for yourself," Albayalde said.

Albayalde dispelled fears of surveillance, saying that they currently have no contracts with the company.

The Philippine government is negotiating with Huawei and China Telecom about the Safe Philippines Project, a 12,000-camera surveillance system project that seeks “efficient management of public order, security and safety” in the Philippines. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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