Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla’s Sangley International Airport project and its foreign developer – the China Communications Construction Co., Ltd. – were recently put in a spotlight after the US Commerce Department blacklisted the company, along with 23 other Chinese companies involved in the construction of the artificial islands in the South China Sea.
At the outset, the Philippine Navy has raised its concern over the airport project, given the national security implications involved. In like manner, it had raised issues with an earlier project proposal involving the reclamation of Cavite’s coastal areas to establish five (5) artificial islands.
One of these “islands” would’ve been just a stone’s throw away from Naval Station Pascual Ledesma, the Navy’s principal ship repair facility, notwithstanding the construction of a POGO facility (offshore gaming) in the former Covelandia. Altogether there seems to be a gradual “Sinicization” of the stretch of coastal areas and real estate properties right smack in the middle of the Navy headquarters in Manila and its naval base in the adjacent province of Cavite.
The Navy has likewise taken a similar position against investments that impinge on the country’s national security, such as the reported interest of Chinese investors in taking over the failed Hanjin Heavy Industries Construction-Philippines shipbuilding facility in Subic, Zambales, as well as the plan by the Fong Zhi Enterprise Corporation to establish a “smart city” in Fuga Island.
Unfortunately, the bureaucracy operates under Western-style “stovepipes.” The economic clusters of government decide on investments sans due diligence from a security lens. Likewise, local governments decide on the basis of parochial interest over a higher national security interest.