House probe sought on possible foreign development of key PH isles

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 21 2019 04:53 PM

MANILA - Lawmakers of left-leaning Bayan Muna partylist have filed a resolution urging the House of Representatives to investigate the possible development of three Philippine islands by foreign investors, particularly Chinese financiers.

The Philippine Navy earlier raised security concerns over the alleged China-backed development of Fuga, Grande and Chiquita Islands.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he would check on possible security threats from the planned development of the islands, which could be used as footholds for Chinese activities.

Fuga Island, located in the Babuyan archipelago, is "a very strategic crossing for our ships," he said.

Waters surrounding Fuga Island, which served as a jump-off point for troops during World War II, is also home to telecommunications cables, according to Navy spokesperson Capt. Jonathan Zata.

Chiquita and Grande Islands are at the mouth of Subic Bay, where "we are going to park a lot of our capital assets later on," he added. The area is also home to a freeport zone and a former US Navy base.

Malacañang said it would cancel the China-backed development if found to be a threat to national security.

Earlier this month, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority said the deals with China have not yet been finalized. 

-- With a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News