HONTIVEROS SEEKS PROBE ON CHINESE INVESTMENTS IN 3 PHL ISLANDS

Alarmed by the possible strategic security implications of a reported plan to develop three Philippine islands with the help of "Chinese investors," Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros filed a resolution calling on the Senate to probe its possible maritime and security implications to the country.

Proposed Senate Resolution No. 74 seeks to investigate the strategic security implications of the developments by foreigners of Fuga, Grande and Chiquita Islands, as well as the property formerly known as Island Cove Resort. Hontiveros said that the islands Fuga in Cagayan Province and adjacent Grande and Chiquita Islands in Subic Bay, Zambales province play strategic roles in the country's national security.

"Are we witnessing a creeping annexation?" Hontiveros asked.

"Amid China's aggressive behavior in the West Philippine Sea, it is baffling that the Duterte government allowed this to happen. These are no ordinary islands. These parcels of land are strategic maritime fronts that play a significant role in our military history, which only proves how invaluable they are to our national security," she explained.

The Senator also brought up the development of the 32-hectare Island Cove Resort property in Kawit, Cavite, purchased by a still-unknown investor and converted into a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) complex with housing facilities for an estimated 20,000 foreign workers.

Island Cove is approximately 3.5 kilometers from Danilo Atienza Air Base, home of the Philippine Air Force's 15th Strike Wing, and Naval Base Heracleo Alano, containing the Naval Sea System Command, which operates the Armed Forces of the Philippines's (AFP) largest industrial complex - the military shipyards providing repair and maintenance for all Navy ships and aircraft.

It was reported that the country's unregulated POGO industry led to an influx of illegal Chinese workers in the Philippines.

Hontiveros said that the questionable investments financed by Chinese money are unsettling. She said that the country's military and national security are in an undeniably vulnerable position.

"We look to the Senate to rise to the occasion and to seek the truth. We hope that the investigation is conducted through the lens of Filipino values that uphold our integrity, sovereignty and dignity," Hontiveros said.

"May we never trade our dignity and sovereignty for investments. May the price paid for development and progress never be the Filipinos ourselves," Hontiveros concluded.

Source: Senate of the Philippines