De Lima to gov’t: Halt Chinese development of 3 islands for security’s sake

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 18 2019 01:29 AM

MANILA—Senator Leila De Lima on Saturday urged the government to back out of agreements on the planned development of 3 islands, deals that were made with Chinese companies this year.

In a statement, De Lima said she filed Senate Resolution No. 93, calling for the administration to cancel the said development on Fuga, Grande and Chiquita islands and other locations of "significant strategic maritime security importance." 

Fuga is located in Cagayan, while Grande and Chiquita are in Zambales.

De Lima said such deals could place the country "at risk by allowing foreign presence in strategic locations."

During the Belt and Road Initiative forum last April, GFTG Property Holdings and Sanya CEDF Sino-Philippine Investment Corp. sealed a $298-million project that would develop Grande and Chiquita, which are both under the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.
 
The military has also raised concerns over the reported plan, which De Lima said was "sufficient basis to support the immediate cancellation of such plans.

“With claims from no less than our top military officials that Chinese presence in these strategic border islands would pose, if not guarantee, security risks to our country, President Duterte should go ahead and immediately cancel these development agreements with Chinese firms involving these islands,” De Lima said. 

The detained senator said the increasing presence of Chinese forces in the country could also spark "instability and cause international tension," which could adversely affect the economy.

In an interview Saturday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said De Lima should focus on her own case first. 

"Asikasuhin niya muna yung kaso niya. Mas importante para sa kaniya 'yun ngayon," he told reporters.