Pangilinan: Probe China’s ‘soft invasion’
MANILA, Philippines—Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan wants to investigate the continuous influx of mainland Chinese nationals into the Philippines since 2017.
Pangilinan filed Senate Resolution 558, directing the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification Reconciliation, to inquire about some four million Chinese nationals’ security implications that arrived in the Philippines.
“Given the lenient requirements for foreign national retirees and the seemingly unchecked entry of some 4 million Chinese nationals into the country, there is a need to look into whether this is an orchestrated ‘soft invasion’ of our country,” said Pangilinan in the resolution that was filed on Tuesday.
Pangilinan said that Chinese individuals’ massive arrival is “alarming,” especially with the ongoing territorial dispute between China and the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea.
During the October 20 hearing of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality, then Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre issued in 2017 Department of Justice Order 41 allowing Chinese nationals to enter the country not via visas issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), but by BI-issued visas-upon-arrival (VUA).
Of the 4 million Chinese individuals who entered the country, 150,000 came in via VUA.
At the Department of Tourism budget hearing, the Philippine Retirement Authority disclosed that Chinese nationals comprise the biggest population of foreign retirees at nearly 40 percent or about 28,000, with retirees defined as young as 35 years old.
Pangilinan argued that China’s “soft invasion” is already in progress with its investment and infrastructure projects.
Captain Jim Fanell, the former intelligence chief of the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet, coined the term “soft invasion” to describe China’s strategy of “invading” cash-strapped neighbors.
“In July 2020, the Philippine government protested the presence of more than a hundred Chinese vessels, which are believed to be part of China’s fishing militia, in Pag-asa Island and the West Philippine Sea,” said Pangilinan.
“Filipino fishermen in the area who are civilians and have no military training, unlike their Chinese counterparts, are subjected to threats and harassment. Moreover, the country’s natural resources are exploited.”
Fanell said that the Chinese are using their money to buy out local officials to gain access to ports, airfields, and resources, thus giving these foreign nationals control over the islands. [ac]
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