Hontiveros wants probe on ‘collusion’ in China’s island-building in WPS
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday pushed for a Senate investigation into a possible “collusion” among Philippine officials or entities in the construction of China’s artificial islands and military installations in the West Philippine Sea.
“May sabwatan ba ang mga opisyal ng gobyerno, sinumang indibidwal, o mga grupo sa Pilipinas sa patuloy na pagtatayo ng artificial islands at military installations ng Tsina sa mga isla natin?” Hontiveros said in filing Senate Resolution No. 509, which called on the appropriate Senate committee to conduct the investigation on the matter.
(Is there collusion among government officials, individuals or entities in the Philippines in the island-building of China in the West Philippine Sea?)
Citing a list released by the US government, Hontiveros earlier said companies that contributed to dredging and construction of military islands in the disputed waters released by the US government included China Communications Construction Co., Ltd. (CCCC), which she said has subsidiaries that have entered into several projects with the Philippine government.
She noted that the government currently has five memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the said firm.
CCCC’s subsidiaries, according to Hontiveros, have MOUs for the Davao Coastline and Port Development Project, Manila Harbour Center Reclamation Project, Cebu International and Bulk Terminal Project, and the Manila-Clark railway.
Another Chinese company, China Harbor Engineering Co. (CHEC), also won a bid to build an access road to New Clark City, the senator added.
With this in mind, Hontiveros said “it is not hard to suspect dubious engagement by either party.”
“Ano pa ang hindi natin alam? Iyan ang gusto natin imbestigahan at maitigil,” the senator added.
(What else don’t we know? That is what I want investigated so that we can stop it.)
Hontiveros also claimed that soil, sand, and other materials have allegedly been taken from the Philippines for the construction of China’s artificial islands.
“[A]dding insult to injury, it appears that the soil, sand, and other materials taken from the Philippines were used to construct China’s artificial islands,” she said in her resolution.
“Imposibleng walang sabwatan na nangyayari kung madaling nagawa ito ng Tsina sa sarili nating bansa. Sino ang mga traydor na ito?” she added.
(It’s impossible that there is no collusion happening if China was able to easily do that in our own country. Who are these traitors?)
Hontiveros underscored the need to immediately investigate this and that measures should be taken to prevent “acts inimical to national security.”
These measures include the identification and imposition of sanctions on Filipinos proven to be “colluding or collaborating with foreign powers” to militarize the West Philippine Sea, the senator said.
Hontiveros noted that China has been militarizing the West Philippine Sea by constructing long-range sensor rays, port facilities, runways, bunkers for fuel and weapons, and barracks for military personnel on these artificial islands.
“It is alarming that the island bases have put the Philippine archipelago within range of Chinese combat aircraft and bombers. This is a clear threat to our national security,” she said.
Further, she raised fears about the security of the country, including the livelihood of Filipino fishermen.
Earlier, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he would “strongly” recommend the termination of contracts between the government and companies involved in China’s reclamation activities in the South China Sea.
This, after the US announced sanctions and restrictions on two dozen Chinese companies and associated officials over their involvement in the building of artificial islands in the disputed waters.
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