MANILA – The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) has denied claims that China is acquiring Fuga Island in northern Philippines through investing and developing the island as a smart city but only to expand Chinese military presence.
“We would like to correct the misconception attributed to CEZA’s memorandum of understanding with Fong Zhi Enterprises of China. CEZA’s MOUs (memorandum of understanding) with foreign investors are mere marketing tools, with short-lived effectivity of six months and are purely non-binding instruments as specifically provided in its terms,” CEZA Deputy Administrator Agrimero Cruz said in a statement Tuesday
Cruz added the MOU between CEZA and Fujian-based Fong Zhi already expired without receiving any proposal of investment from the Chinese firm to invest in Fuga Island.
According to CEZA, Fuga Island and adjacent islands of Mabbag and Barit are owned by private entities who offer these properties to investors.
The investment promotion agency, on the other hand, registers and oversees the operation of these enterprises that are within the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport to ensure that they operate these properties in adherence to Republic Act No. 7922, or the CEZA Act of 1995.
“We are fully aware of the fact that the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport is geographically configured in a very strategic location not only in terms of economic investment viability but more so in terms of national security and disaster response especially in the Northern Philippines,” Cruz said.
He added CEZA’s memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Philippine Navy in 2019 formalizes a plan in building a naval detachment in Fuga Island.
Likewise, a MOA with the Philippine Air Force in 2018 was signed for the usufruct of 10-hectare property at the Cagayan North International Airport (CNIA) in Lal-lo, Cagayan to establish an air force forward base. (PNA)