Navy begins developing Oyster Bay into mini Subic; mum on US pivot
By Redempto D. Anda
Inquirer Southern Luzon
3:41 am | Sunday, October 6th, 2013
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There has been an initial P500 million released to complete some major infrastructure components, including a 12-kilometer access road from the mainland.
“We call this a capability upgrade,” said Commodore Joseph Rostum Peña, commander of Naval Forces West (Navforwest).
Once completed, the facility would have an extended wharf to accommodate “at least four large naval vessels,” he said.
Armando Lustre, head of Lustre Construction that won a Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-administered contract to complete the 12-km road from the village of Macarascas to Oyster Bay, said they had begun the road work and were expecting additional funding for the third and final phase of the road development plan for the area.
Peña likened the Oyster Bay facility to “a mini Subic” once completed. Like the former US naval facility in Zambales, the bay has physical characteristics that can host large warships.
“It is also ideal as a base for our Marines. It has vast jungles suitable for training,” Peña said.Around 10 years ago when the Philippine Navy began developing Oyster Bay and its naval reservation, all the villages around it rejected the facility, expressing this in a referendum conducted by the city government.
But Jane Villarin, a village council representive of Macarascas which hosts the newly transferred Navforwest headquarters believes the objections had been assuaged.
“I don’t think the community will resist the development of the naval base … we are used to them now,” she said.