The Daily Manila Shimbun


Lorenzana will study deal between AFP and China-linked telco inside camp

September 16, 2019

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana assures he will carefully study the  memorandum of agreement (MOA) signed between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) allowing a Chinese-linked telco to build communication facilities in military camps.

Lorenzana said he just learned about the agreement after he asked AFP Chief of Staff General Benjamin Madrigal when news about its signing came out.

“I am traveling when this came out. When I inquired the CSAFP ( Chief of Staff, AFP) he said the MOA is going to my office for my approval,” he said.

“So now I am aware of it and I will scrutinize it carefully before giving my approval. I’ll be back in Manila on the 20th,” he added.

Arsenio Andolong, DND spokesman, said the agreement has not reached their department.

"I believe the papers are still on their way to the DND," he said.

"Usually they (AFP) are authorized to go into contracts. However, that’s subject to the approval of the SND (Secretary of National Defense)," he noted.

"I think the AFP knows what it’s doing. They had their own vetting and evaluation of the deal. So we’re pretty confident that they did that," Andolong added.

Andolong emphasized that despite the signing, the agreement still needs the approval of Lorenzana.

"As to the approval of the SND, whether they (AFP) like it or not, it has to go through SND. So this is a regular procedure," he said.

"The buck still stops with SND. It’s up to the SND whether he will approve this or not," he added.

Andolong said the establishment of any facility inside military camps is always a concern for the DND.

"Of course, we have a concern about that. As with any proponent or entity that wishes to put up any infrastructure inside camp, we have a concern always," he said.

"The defense department has a concern. Nothing unusual, just that when somebody puts something up inside camp, we have to look into this always," he added. Robina Asido/DMS