Philippine Officials Raise Concerns about Chinese Plans to Develop Islands

It was reported on August 6 that the Philippine Department of National Defense and the Philippine Navy have raised concerns about Chinese plans to develop Fuga Island in Cagayan and Chiquita and Grande Islands in Subic Bay into tourist destinations and economic zones.  RWR reported in April that the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority and Isla Fuga Holdings had both signed agreements with Fong Zhi Enterprise Corporation for the development of a $2 billion smart city and a high-tech industrial park on Fuga Island.

Navy Spokesman Capt. Jonathan Zata publicly stated that the three islands are important to the Philippines’ maritime strategic security, and that the military needs to be able to maintain access.  Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo responded to these concerns during a press briefing on August 8, stating that the government will study the island development plans with China and rescind the agreements if there is a national security threat.  Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana added that the Department of National Defense and the Navy were not consulted, when the islands were offered to the Chinese in this manner.

The Philippine Senate has also expressed a desire to launch an investigation into the plans.