Lawmakers back junking of deals with Chinese companies | Inquirer News

Lawmakers back junking of deals with Chinese companies

/ 04:42 AM August 31, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Two lawmakers backed Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s proposal to rescind the contracts of Chinese companies involved in land reclamation in the West Philippine Sea, waters within the country’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone in the disputed South China Sea.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Sunday said the Duterte administration would only be abetting China’s intrusions into the country’s maritime territory if it honors the service contracts awarded to Chinese state-owned companies engaged in building artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea.

“These predatory Chinese companies must be stopped. Let us not give up our sovereignty for infrastructure that can be led by many other companies that do not actively engage in encroaching on our territories,” Hontiveros said in a statement.


“As we celebrate National Heroes’ Day [on Monday], we should not forget the sacrifices of our heroes who wholeheartedly fought for freedom and independence of our country,” she said.


She said subsidiaries of China Communications Construction Co. Ltd. (CCCC) were currently involved in at least five infrastructure projects, including one in President Duterte’s hometown of Davao City.

CCCC was among the Chinese companies that were blacklisted by the United States for their involvement in island-building in the disputed waters. The company is also part of the consortium that bagged the Sangley Point International Airport project in Cavite.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, FILE PHOTO / Senate PRIB

According to the opposition senator, the government had entered into memorandum of understanding with CCCC subsidiaries for the construction of the Davao Coastline and Port Development Project, Manila Harbour Center Reclamation Project, Cebu International and Bulk Terminal Project and the Manila-Clark Railway.

Hontiveros said China Harbor Engineering Co., on the other hand, was awarded a contract to build an access road to New Clark City in Pampanga.

“These projects should be revoked. If we continue with these deals, it may be equivalent to giving up our territories,” she said.

Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, chair of the House transportation committee, agreed and said Locsin’s position “would put absolute clarity on the government’s foreign policy toward China that while we embrace them as allies, we also have our patriotic duty to assert our sovereign rights.”


“This would show that the Philippines is one with the world in opposing these Chinese reclamations in the West Philippine Sea,” he said in a statement. “Allowing these Chinese companies to operate here is way too much of an insult for all Filipinos.”

Sarmiento said government agencies should conduct an audit of all their construction projects and ensure that their contractors have no connections with Chinese companies. He also asked the Bureau of Immigration to identify personalities who are working for these companies and deport them right away.

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