Rodriguez: Keep Sangley Point bases for national security’s sake

Published September 15, 2020, 1:50 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

A House leader is batting for the retention of two Navy stations in Sangley Point, Cavite amid the multi-billion dollar expansion of the international airport there.

Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez

Cagayan de Oro City 2nd district Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, author of House Resolution (HR) No.1199, said keeping the two stations is in the interest of “maintaining security in our archipelago, especially the Manila Bay area.”

He noted in HR No.1199 that the development of the Sangley Point International Airport (SPIA) will entail the relocation of Naval Station Heracleo Alano and Naval Station Pascual Ledesma.

Rodriguez, chairman of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments, said the naval base where the stations are located serves as the headquarters of the Naval Installations Command and houses “other vital facilities and offices of the Philippine Navy.”

Quoting Navy chief Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo, Rodriguez said Sangley’s location “allows the Navy to conduct surveillance operations and use it as a staging point.”

“Vice Admiral Bacordo further stated that the naval base in Sangley is guarding the entrance to Manila Bay, which is the center of gravity of the national government. If Manila Bay falls, the whole country falls,” he added.

The Mindanao solon pointed out that the Navy chief said the planned Sangley Point airport and the Navy base “can operate together and can co-exist.”

He said the naval presence in that part of Cavite also serves as a reminder to Filipinos that “Sangley Point was the site of the battle for Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War, which was a very important event in Philippine history that marked the end of centuries of Spanish rule in the country.”

SPIA is a 1,500-hectare master-planned international airport hub being developed by the Cavite provincial government, which has awarded the contract for the initial phase of the project to a consortium composed of MacroAsia Corp. and China Communications Co. Ltd. The project is worth $10 billion.

The Chinese firm is reportedly among the construction companies involved in Beijing’s reclamation projects in disputed areas including the West Philippine Sea.