NO need to build fences to protect the hens, folks. The wolves are already inside.
That’s essentially what some of the bright boys over at the Armed Forces of the Philippines did when it agreed to have a China-linked telecommunications firm to install and manage communications equipment inside AFP’s premises. This, after defense officials expressed concerns just a month ago about having POGOs operating so close to military and police camps. (Ironically, defense analyst and military historian Jose Custodio pointed out that the defense guys are barking up the wrong tree when it comes to POGOs and espionage.)
AFP chief Benjamin Madrigal Jr. offered a feeble excuse to address the howls of dissent regarding this folly: “All of these things, well all of them are, even Globe or Smart…there is a threat…so all of them, we know they are vulnerable.” Last time I checked, Globe and Smart aren’t engaged in the militarization of reclaimed areas in the West Philippine Sea, nor in any other area in the South China Sea, so lumping them with Dito Telecommunity (the consortium of which China Telecom is part) is very misleading.
It calls into question what kind of coordination our current crop of defense officials have over matters affecting national security. Now the boys along the Pasig are saying that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is looking into the memorandum of agreement between the AFP and Dito; did it have to reach this point where it has to be reviewed by higher officials, instead of those down the ladder exercising their own common sense in weighing the advantages and disadvantages of this agreement? I mean, c’mon. Is the rent really worth compromising our security?
At this point, the Chinese government won’t need spies to get information about our country’s next steps when it comes to national security. It won’t need to break a sweat if they wanted to know exactly what is going on, and where. The sticky thing with this sort of problem is the amount of entanglement it creates, which means that the next administration (should it be so inclined) will have a hard time extricating the country from these agreements—be it loans, disadvantageous grants, and the like. The long term implications of these short-sighted initiatives will take its toll on our nation’s interest, and it seems that nobody in the current leadership thinks these things through.
Worse, they might not really care about what the long-term effects may be. That leaves us, dear millennials and fillennials, in a colossal rut of our own government’s doing.