“We respect the Senate’s oversight function. Thus, we are happy to be tasked and in fact welcome the call for a Senate inquiry on the signed MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and DITO Corporation,” AFP spokesperson and Education, Training and Doctrine Command (AFPETDC) commander Major General Edgard Arevalo said in a statement on September 16.
“To the AFP, this is the opportunity to present to the honorable members of Congress the whys and whereofs of our decision to sign the MOA,” Major General Arevalo added.
He noted that the Senate inquiry may even be an opportunity for the legislators to draw inputs on the matter to aid them in their legislative function.
Senator Risa Hontiveros is seeking immediate Senate hearing on the AFP-DITO deal.
Senator Hontiveros filed Senate Resolution No. 137 in September 2019 seeking to probe the national security implications of the agreement that allows DITO to set up equipment and facilities within the military bases of AFP.
“I will request the Committee on National Defense to hear this resolution in the Senate immediately. Kailangan mabusisi ang kasunduang ito kasi mahirap paniwalaan na walang pansariling interes ang Tsina sa pagtayo nito ng cell sites sa sarili mismo nating military camps. Wala bang ibang cell sites? Bakit kailangan sa military bases? It’s as if the Chinese state itself is present within our military camps. Our national security is at risk here,” the senator said.