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Delikado ‘pag natuloy: De Lima calls on Duterte to cancel deals for Chinese dev’t of 3 strategic islands

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Senator Leila De Lima has urged President Rodrigo Duterte to cancel agreements made by the govenrment with Chinese firms to develop three strategic islands in the country to avoid security risks.

De Lima filed Senate Resolution (SR) No. 93 calling for the cancellation of the planned development of Fuga, Grande and Chiquita Islands, as well as any other location of significant strategic maritime security importance, backed by China.

“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,” she said.

The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority confirmed an agreement with Xiamen-based Fong Zhi Enterprise Corp. to develop a $2-billion Smart City in Fuga Island in Cagayan, which will be patterned after the firm’s ongoing mega infrastructure project in Fujian province in China.

Meanwhile, GFTG Property Holdings and Sanya CEDF Sino-Philippine Investment Corp. forged a $298-million project to develop the adjacent Grande and Chiquita islands in Subic Bay, Zambales during Duterte’s visit to Beijing for the Belt and Road Initiative forum last April.

De Lima said military officials’ warning about the security risks involved in the Chinese development of the three islands is already “sufficient basis” to cancel the agreements.

“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,” she said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said the government may opt to cancel the planned development of three islands backed by China if found to be a threat to national security.

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