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Sunday, June 16, 2024

ISAFP, NBI agents probing Chinese workers in village

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Agents of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are now questioning residents of a big village in Paranaque City over the presence of a large group of Chinese nationals in their community, Manila Standard learned Thursday.

This developed as Multinational Village residents who came forward to expose the suspicious presence of Chinese in their area denounced a statement attributed to the leadership of the Southern Police District (SPD) calling their revelations “fake news.”

The residents, requesting anonymity, told the Standard that ISAFP and NBI agents have made the rounds among their neighbors over the lastfew days to check on their allegations into the throng of draft-age male Chinese nationals currently residing in their neighborhood.

However, the ISAFP and NBI have yet to answer queries confirming their probes as of press time.

A group of Multinational Village homeowners had appealed to national security authorities to conduct a serious background inquiry into the Chinese, echoing concerns aired by some lawmakers and defense officials on the possible presence of “sleeper agents” in key sectors of the country amid Beijing’s aggressive posturing in the West Philippine Sea.

The village is significant for national security as it is practically beside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and less than five kilometers from military installations at Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City and Villamor Airbase, the headquarters of the Philippine Air Force.

Meanwhile, a representative of the Multinational residents said they are, in effect, being called liars by the SPD despite the candid interviews they have given to authorities and the evidence they have presented to policemen who only came to see them on Wednesday.

The resident also asked for anonymity as the villagers’ group planned to issue a formal statement denouncing the local police district’s assertions.

“How can they come to the conclusion that we are making false claims after only one day of investigating? These cops must be the fastest investigators in history! They just came to see us, but they hardly looked around the village… how can they make an instant conclusion? Hopefully, more competent probers from other government agencies will step in,” the resident said on Thursday.

In a report on the government-owned Radyo Pilipinas news website, the SPD in a statement debunked the presence of Chinese performing military-like exercises at Multinational Village as they had immediately investigated and performed validation checks after receiving the information.

The police district explained that the Chinese were just workers for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) in the country, and that their numbers were falling despite the apparent rise of Chinese-focused businesses in the village.

As to the reported military exercises in Multinational, the police statement said the residents may have mistaken the men for village security guards “who were just jogging around the village.”

The statement also quoted SPD chief Police Brig. Gen. Mark Pespes as saying they were committed to the safety and security of all residents within its jurisdiction.

The same resident disclosed to the Standard that homeowners are already scheduling a meeting to come up with a formal reply to the supposedly irresponsible name-branding “by people who are supposedly duty-bound to protect us.”

The SPD’s apparent haste in trying to discredit their expose, the resident said, “is out of fear that heads will” roll once it is found out that threats to national security were allowed to take root under their noses, and only a few kilometers away from key Philippine military installations.

Other media outfits, however, have published reports on the existence of a large group of Chinese nationals in Multinational Village as early as 2019.

The homeowners’ representative said that former Senator Richard Gordon launched a probe on the dubious Chinese presence in the suburban enclave in 2020.

Gordon had noted that his office received complaints of apparently hundreds of Chinese living in one house in Multinational despite the village being in the R-1 category, meaning houses in the area should only be for a single family.

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