AFP wants gov’t to reconsider Chinese development on 3 strategic Luzon islands

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 6) — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is “inclined” to recommend that the government reconsiders the development of three strategic islands in Luzon by Chinese investors.

“We believe that as much as we have to look at the economic aspect of it, we should never forget and set aside the security implication that developments may bring to our country, security being our primordial concern,” AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Tuesday.

Arevalo, however, did not directly answer whether the AFP would be recommending to stop the development of Fuga Island and Grande and Chiquita Islands in Subic.

These developments were bagged during the second Belt and Road Initiative Forum in Beijing back in April.

At the sidelines of the forum, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) signed a memorandum of understanding with Xiamen-based Fong Zhi Enterprise Corp. for the construction of a $2-billion Smart City in Fuga Island which would be patterned after its ongoing project in Fujian, China.

Fong Zhi also inked a strategic cooperation agreement with Isla Fuga Resort., Inc., the owner of Fuga Island.

Fuga, one of the northernmost islands of the Philippines, provides easy access to the Pacific Ocean in the east and the South China Sea in the west.

The government also entered into a framework agreement worth around $298 million with GFTG Property Holdings and Sanya CEDF Sino-Philippine Investment Corporation to develop Grande and Chiquita Islands under the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

READ: 19 business deals signed during Duterte's trip to China

Subic was once home to a US naval base, which was one of the largest US military facilities outside of the continental US.

The military said there is no question that these islands are of strategic importance for the Philippines’ security.

Other government agencies have yet to respond to the military’s concerns.