Navy gets nod to build detachment on Fuga Island
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Navy has been given the go signal to build a detachment on Fuga Island, one of the strategic islands in Luzon being eyed for Chinese development.
A memorandum of agreement (MOA) allowing the Navy to construct a base on the island was signed on Wednesday by Navy chief Vice Adm. Robert Empedrad and Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) administrator Secretary Raul Lambino, Navy public affairs chief Lcmdr. Ma. Christina Roxas said in a statement.
Fuga Island is owned by Isla Fuga Pacific Resort Inc. and is only being managed by CEZA, which covers Santa Ana town in Cagayan and the islands of Barit and Mabbag in Aparri.
“The Philippine Navy is very thankful to Sec. Lambino and his team for agreeing to expand the previous memorandum of agreement, and effectively accommodating more possibilities for the navy to enhance its capability in safeguarding our northern frontier and at the same time contribute to the socio-economic development in Northern Luzon,” Empedrad said.
For his part, Lambino acknowledged that the “geographical configuration of our country requires an active Philippine Navy.”
Fuga Island attracted attention in August after it was reported as one of the three strategic locations that Chinese investors want to develop into economic hubs.
The island with a population of about 2,500 is a coastal town in Babuyan archipelago, which enjoys access to both the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea. It is also home to telecommunication cables.
The other two islands eyed for Chinese development are Grande and Chiquita in Subic Bay.
CEZA secured an agreement in April on the sidelines of President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China for the proposed $2-billion “Smart City” on Fuga Island to be built by Xiamen-based Fong Zhi Enterprise Corp.
The Philippine Navy later raised concerns over the security implications of the Chinese-backed development.
The Philippine Coast Guard will also construct lighthouses on Fuga Island and 12 other areas in the northern extension of the Philippine archipelago amid concerns on Chinese planned investments and interests on strategic locations.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.