The Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) is establishing a military foothold on Fuga Island, long governed by local authorities of Aparri, Cagayan, months after speculation made the rounds that a Chinese company was looking to create projects in the area.
According to Chino Gaston’s report on “24 Oras” on Thursday, the Naval Task Group Fleet Marine Cagayan has been ramping up security on the Babuyan Islands and surrounding waters in light of ongoing territorial disputes.
Among the islands that was visited by the PMC along with some members of the media was Fuga Island, a private island that is difficult to enter as it is guarded by private security personnel.
Recently, the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ North Luzon Command ordered the deployment of more soldiers to the island.
“Ang guidance from higher headquarters is to establish foothold, military presence dito sa lugar kasi in the future, maglalagay ng naval detachment dito sa Fuga,” task group commander Lieutenant Colonel Brian Dale Rimas said.
“We would be also constructing a monitoring station para ma-detect natin ‘yung mga dumaraan na barko dito sa Luzon Strait,” he added.
Marine detachments were also established on Palaui Island, which is part of the ancestral domain of the Agta tribe.
“Ang hiling ko lang ay irespeto ang aming karapatan, lalong lalo na ‘yung unang nakagisnan naming buhay i-preserve sana at mapanatili ang ganda ng Palaui Island,” Agta leader Alvin Vallanca said.
Aparri authorities have been guarding the Babuyan Islands in north Luzon against invaders and pirates as early as the Spanish era.
Old structures set up by the Spaniards like lighthouses can still be found on the islands.
Responding to rumors about foreigners possibly establishing a project on Fuga, Aparri Mayor Bryan Dale Chan said that no Chinese have gone to the island. — Julia Mari Ornedo/BM, GMA News