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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Barbers wants probe into PCG’s new ‘Makapili’

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Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers on Sunday called for an investigation to identify and hold accountable the so-called “Makabagong Makapili” officials responsible for recruiting and facilitating the entry of at least 36 Chinese nationals as members of the Philippine Coast Guard’s Auxiliary Corps.

“During the Japanese era in the Philippines, we had ‘Makapili.’ Now,we also have ‘Modern Makapili’ who serve the interests of China in our country. It is time to investigate and identify these alleged unlicensed and traitors to the people,” he said.

The Makabayang Katipunan ng mga Pilipino (Patriotic Association of Filipinos), better known as the Makapili, was

a group of Filipino traitors formed during World War II to collaborate and provide aid to the invading Imperial Japanese Army forces in the Philippines.

Barbers reacted to the admission of Philippine Coast Guard CommandantAdmiral Ronnie Gil Gavan during a House hearing held Wednesday thatprevious PCG officers recruited and admitted over 36 Chinese nationals into the PCG auxiliary corps.

“The Chinese nationals are with the PCGA for more or less three years.

Did the PCG conduct due diligence on these nationals? Obviously, there’s none. As Admiral Gavan has admitted, some 36 were axed because they failed to secure national security clearance,” the lawmaker said.

“We also do not know if those Chinese nationals are officials from the China People’s Liberation Army, businessmen, or tourists out to justify their longer stay here in our country,” he said.

The matter must be thoroughly investigated since such recruitmentcould have adversely affected the country’s national security, Barbers said.

He claimed of receiving reports that the Chinese PCG auxiliary members were tagging along with some senior PCG officials whenever they conducted routine and official patrol missions in the West Philippine Sea.

“In more than three years that they have been part of the PCG, they probably have Chinese military spies with them, and they have allknown the strategies, missions and objectives, communications gadgets, and duties and functions of all the officers of the PCG and others,”Barbers said.

“If you think about it, the shamelessness of the PCG was serious andthey should be held accountable to the law for why they allowed it,” he said.

However, PCG spokesperson Rear Admiral Armand Balilo on Thursday said there is no strong basis to speculate that the Chinese nationals recruited to the PCG auxiliary force were spies

“We have no solid basis to accuse them of being Chinese spies. We also had a vetting process when they applied. They have been helping the Coast Guard for a long time but for humanitarian assistance and donations only,” he said.

According to Balilo, the PCG also required them to submit clearances from the Bureau of Immigration, the Philippine National Police, and the National Bureau of Investigation.

Balilo pointed out that the Chinese nationals were not involved in PCG’s sensitive operations, adding the Chinese nationals were just ordinary businessmen recommended by Filipino-Chinese members of the PCG auxiliary force.

If there were reports that these Chinese nationals are spies, Balilo said the National Security Council (NSC) will monitor and deal with them.

In the hearing on Wednesday, Gavan said the PCG delisted 36 Chinese individuals as auxiliary force members due to lack of national security clearance.

Gavan explained that the requirement of having a national security clearance for PCG auxiliary force members was only implemented when he was named PCG commandant by President Marcos in October 2023.

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