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Monday, June 17, 2024

Shady, at the very least

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SOMETHING smells fishy in the alleged number of foreign Chinese students granted student visas in Cagayan.

We agree with Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel III when he said the Commission on Higher Education should investigate this before the Senate, in aid of legislation, makes a move.

There is a need – and the time must be now – to verify the allegations, which should include the actual number of foreign students, since vague details were used in earlier reports.

Details like what is the exact number of enrolled Chinese students, among other foreign students if any, admitted in the province, in what schools are they enrolled, how much is the tuition.

Pimentel is on track in chasing other details like when did this enrollment of foreign students begin, and why is it just now when the issue has surfaced.

There is also the issue of local politics in the province, which should be looked into by the Senate, in the event the chamber should gear up for an inquiry on this issue of foreign students.

Given the reports, the CHED should indeed verify these and investigate as necessary and give initial figures to the Senate as required.

We are also disturbed by reports from the Bureau of Immigration that 1,500 nationals got student visas in Cagayan after being “legally processed” – with reports from the Tuguegarao City mayor Maila Ting Que saying the scrutiny of Chinese students in her capital city is “unfair and insulting.”

CHED, in a statement last week, said there is “a significant number” of Chinese students enrolled at Saint Paul University Philippines, which is found in the city of Tuguegarao, and like other autonomous universities are authorized to accept foreign students.

The university’s website says SPUP is a Center for Excellence in Nursing and in Teacher Education, and is a Center for Development in Information Technology.

The National Security Council is on track when it sent intelligence officials to Cagayan to monitor if there are national security threats involved, NSC Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya had said.

The Bureau of Immigration earlier said the 1,500 Chinese nationals who received student visas in 2023 were “legally processed” and had “complete documentation.”

We look forward to additional reports on the matter, given the security issues involved.

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