De Lima to Duterte: Stop Chinese plan on 3 PH isles



MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila de Lima on Saturday urged President Rodrigo Duterte to cancel agreements with Chinese investors’ to turn three strategic islands in the Philippines into economic and tourism zones.

De Lima, a staunch critic of the President, filed Senate Resolution No. 93, seeking the cancellation of the planned development on Fuga Island in Cagayan province and Grande and Chiquita Islands in Subic Bay, Zambales province.

Last April, the Philippines secured $12.16 billion worth of investments as part of the 19 business deals signed between Filipino and Chinese companies during the President’s visit to Beijing for the Belt and Road Initiative forum.

De Lima cited a statement by the Armed Forces of the Philippines that Chinese presence in the strategic islands might pose a threat to national security.

“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 in a statement.

“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,” she added.

Fuga Island, part of the country’s second northernmost island group, provides access to the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea, while Subic Bay is just 260 kilometers from Panatag Shoal that China seized from the Philippines in 2012.