The Philippine Navy (PN) has relayed to the Senate its concerns on the proposals to convert the Sangley Point in Cavite into an “international logistics hub” and the provincial government’s planned construction of an airport in the area.
During a hearing of the Senate economic affairs committee on Wednesday, March 3, PN flag officer in command Vice Admiral Giovanni Bacordo appealed to authorities to make sure that the planned developments will not disrupt their operations in guarding the country’s security and territory.
“The affected facilities should be functionally relocated and replicated prior to the start of any development in Sangley Point to avoid disruption of security and logistics and related operations of the Philippine Navy,” Bacordo said.
In Sangley Point are several of the Navy’s “major” units, Bacordo pointed out. He also noted that there are at least 753 households, as well as a national high school, in the area.
“So the premise that Sangley is almost idle, is far from truth, Madam Chair,” Bacordo told Senator Imee Marcos, who was presiding the hearing as committee chairperson.
The Navy official likewise stressed the importance of the relocation site, as it “should enable the Philippine Navy units to maintain its function as the guardian of the national seat of power from all forms of security threat and could provide safe harbor to its naval assets.”
Bacordo was quoted saying in previous reports that Sangley Point, a former US naval station, remains to be a strategic position in guarding Manila.
He said that while they wanted to keep the status quo, they would be amenable to being transferred in a reclamation plan still along the Manila Bay to maintain their presence in the area.
He added the affected units should just be required to vacate Sangley Point when the relocation and replication sites have been completed. Senate Bill No. 74, filed by former Cavite governor and Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla, calls for the conversion of the Sangley Point as an international logistics hub, which will include an airport and a seaport, “to facilitate further economic growth and social development” in the province and in the country.
Marcos said she sympathizes with the Navy’s concerns. She said she also expects that members of the Congress would oppose the “controversial” proposal since it also contained a provision allowing gambling activities, which could pave the way for offshore gaming operations. Earlier, the Philippine Navy cited national security risks in the Cavite provincial government’s plan to evict its naval base as part of the massive Sangley Point International Airport project.
The airport was initially planned to be established with the help of state-run China Communications Construction Co (CCCC), which was flagged for its involvement in the construction of artificial islands in the West Philippines Sea. But in January this year, it was reported that the Cavite provincial government canceled the award it gave to CCCC in February last year.