PNP probes alleged ‘spying’ activities of Huawei

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 30) — Authorities have launched an investigation on the "espionage" or spying allegations against Chinese tech company Huawei, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Tuesday.

PNP Spokesperson P/Col. Bernard Banac, however, said officials have yet to receive validated information that Huawei products are being used for surveillance activities.

Patuloy ang imbestigasyon na isinasagawa ng Philippine National Police doon sa mga impormasyon na natatanggap natin na diumano ay may mga ganong alegasyon ng espionage, spying sa paggamit ng kanilang produkto,” Banac said in a media briefing.

[Translation: We will push through with our investigation regarding the information we have been receiving regarding the espionage allegations using their products.]

This comes amid a report that the Foreign Affairs department had warned the government against partnering with the tech giant due to “security concerns.”

The department, however, denied this.

"This is regrettable as the published document clearly bears no such warning by the Department," it said in a statement Tuesday. "More than anything, the Department is disturbed that a confidential document has been published, and it calls on relevant agencies to investigate the matter."

U.S. warnings on Huawei

During his visit to the Philippines in March, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized his country's warnings on the security risks of using a Huawei mobile device, particularly one that has a built-in fifth generation (5G) wireless technology.    

The U.S. government has repeatedly expressed concern on the use of the technology, saying it could be used by Chinese spies.

Pompeo, during his state visit, said the competition in the tech industry should be "open, free, and transparent." He added that the U.S. government worries that Huawei has not met such standards.

The Chinese tech giant, which has been accused of stealing trade secrets, has denied the allegations.

PNP said the body has no existing contract with Huawei. However, the Interior Department is set to launch a P20 billion closed-circuit television (CCTV) project with China Telecom and Huawei.

The project, dubbed as "Safe Philippines," targets to put up 12,000 camera surveillance systems around Metro Manila and Davao City.

RELATED: Gov't won't allow info leaks on China-funded CCTV project — Palace

CNN Philippines has reached out to Huawei Philippines for comment, but it has yet to reply as of publishing.

CNN Philippines Correspondent Gerg Cahiles contributed to this report.