De Lima to Duterte: Cancel pacts to develop three “strategic
islands” with China 1

(Eagle News)–Senator Leila de Lima has urged President Rodrigo Duterte to cancel the Philippines’ agreements with China supposedly to develop three strategic islands in the country.

In filing  Senate Resolution No. 93 calling for the cancellation of the planned development of Fuga island in Cagayan, and Grande and Chiquita Islands in Subic, Zambales, De Lima noted what she said were claims from military officials that Chinese presence in these “strategic border islands” would “pose, if not guarantee, security risks to our country.”

She said Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman B/Gen. Edgard Arevalo, for instance, earlier said that the government’s plan to allow Chinese investors to develop the islands could “compromise” Manila’s security and would allow unrestricted access to both the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.

“No amount of guarantee of good behavior nor promise of economic gain from China would justify placing our country at risk by allowing foreign presence in strategic locations, especially by a government that has repeatedly expressed their claim over our territorial waters, as well as those of our neighboring states,” De Lima said.

According to De Lima, “it does not matter whether the development is commercial in nature..”

She said, after all, “it would be easy to convert these locations to military assets and force them to serve military purposes.”

According to De Lima, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority confirmed the agreement with Xiamen-based Fong Zhi Enterprise Corp. to develop a $2-billion Smart City in Fuga Island.

The $298-million pact with GFTG Property Holdings and Sanya CEDF Sino-Philippine Investment Corp. to develop the other two islands under the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority was, on the other hand, she said, forged during Duterte’s visit to Beijing for the Belt and Road Initiative forum last April.