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Monday, May 27, 2024

NSC probes influx of Chinese students in Cagayan province

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The National Security Council is now investigating reports of an influx of Chinese students in areas close to military bases that can be accessed by American troops, in particular in Cagayan province.

“This is something that is currently being investigated now. Our intelligence units have been assigned to take a look at the situation there,” NSC Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said yesterday.

“Is this a case of a national security threat or is this just a case of people wanting to study in the Philippines?” he added.

Chinese-Filipino figure Teresita Ang See and two Cagayan local officials, however, lamented what they described as a wave of Sinophobic sentiment.

“The past days’ preoccupation with deliberate fanning of Sinophobia and racism by politicians and media spreading baseless whodunits of ‘students as spies’ is dangerous and unfortunate,” Ang See said in a statement during a forum at Quezon City’s Kamuning Bakery Cafe.

She cited how the Commission on Higher Education reported a significant number of Chinese students at St. Paul University in Tuguegarao “without qualifying what is significant relative to the total student population or giving context that it is the only university given authority by CHED and Bureau of Immigration to accept foreign students.”

“Neighboring countries take measures to entice Chinese tourists and Chinese students who wish to improve their English to better qualify for higher studies outside China. We, on the other hand, discourage them from coming by exhibiting blatant racism and racial profiling,” she added.

The mayor of Tuguegarao City also expressed concern over what she described was a “racist and politicized” issue about the supposed growing number of Chinese students in the province.

“What’s wrong with us? What’s wrong with Tuguegarao? Aren’t we allowed to have Chinese here? Should we deny them if they only want quality education?” Mayor Maila Rosario Ting-Que said.

Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba said if there is an influx of Chinese students in the province, it should not come as a surprise.

“We are used to the Chinese here. In fact, we have three Chinese schools here,” Mamba said.

Earlier, CHED chairman Prospero de Vera III said there are no Chinese students enrolled in local colleges and universities in Cagayan province but “there is a significant number of Chinese students enrolled in Saint Paul University Philippines (SPUP) – Tuguegarao City.”

Cagayan 3rd District Rep. Joseph Lara earlier filed a resolution seeking a probe into what he said was an alarming rise of Chinese students enrolled in higher institutions in his province in the northern tip of Luzon that is facing Taiwan.

Senators also sought to investigate the issue they called on the Commission on Higher Education and the National Security Council to do their own probe.

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