Calls grow to probe Chinese influx as national security issue

Calls grow to probe Chinese influx as national security issue

/ 05:38 AM April 18, 2024

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Barbers

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Barbers (INQUIRER FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — Calls to look deeper into activities, transactions and settlements tied to the influx of Chinese nationals into the country are growing louder in the House of Representatives.

Members of the Makabayan minority bloc on Wednesday sought an investigation into reports that Philippine military personnel were being recruited as online analysts by Chinese firms posing as Western companies with American military affiliations.


In House Resolution No. 1682, they also brought up lingering suspicions that Chinese sleeper cells may already be in place in the country.


It was the third resolution filed in the 19th Congress, drawing attention to the growing number of Chinese workers and students in the country, fanned by national security concerns and regional tensions over Taiwan and the West Philippine Sea.

READ: Why influx of Sino students in Cagayan Valley? Solons ask

READ: Some Chinese students in Cagayan allegedly pay P2 million to get degrees

Defrauding local banks

Last month, House Assistant Majority Leader Faustino Dy V called for an inquiry to find out how Chinese nationals were able to own land and defraud local banks in Isabela province by posing as Filipino citizens.

Cagayan Rep. Joseph Lara has also pointed to the thousands of Chinese nationals enrolling in tertiary schools in his province at the northern tip of Luzon, facing Taiwan.

On Wednesday, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said the intelligence community should look into the “suspicious and aggressive influx of Chinese nationals” in areas near major seaports, airports and military camps, especially those covered by the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) between the Philippines and the United States.


Filed by ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, Gabriela Women Rep. Arlene Brosas and Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel, HR 1682 cited reports quoting Information and Communications Undersecretary Jeffrey Ian Dy as saying that Chinese companies pretending to be US- or Europe-based had been trying to recruit retired and active military personnel as part-time online analysts.

“The (Armed Forces of the Philippines) believes that the motive behind the reported recruitment is to obtain data from the Armed Forces. The AFP is now looking into potential leaks of information, as well as potential violations of policies and regulations,” the lawmakers said in the resolution.

‘Sinophobic sentiments’

They noted that the Chinese Embassy in Manila had dismissed the report as “malicious speculation and groundless accusation against China with the purpose of inciting Sinophobic sentiments in the Philippines.”

But they maintained that the allegations stemmed from serious national security concerns over the unabated Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea and “the warmongering of the United States.”

It is in the country’s best interest, they said, “not (to) become a battleground of these imperialist countries and … be subservient to any imperialist power or interest.”

Meanwhile, Barbers called on the Bureau of Immigration (BI), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), as well as the military and police intelligence units to look into the growing Chinese presence in areas near Edca sites and other major seaports and airports.

Bogus documents

He said the BI and the DFA had long been aware of the existence of a “Chinese mafia” that helps new arrivals acquire fake documents, including bogus birth certificates, passports, driver’s licenses and gun permits.

“The question is: What have these government agencies done to counter the tampering of their respective offices’ documents? They are all eerily quiet on this issue,” Barbers said.

These “fake Filipino nationals” can’t even utter a single Filipino word but were able to buy vast tracts of land near Edca sites, airports and sea ports, or set up warehouses and business establishments, he noted.

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“One can see those warehouses sprouting like mushrooms in Central Luzon, particularly in Pampanga and Bulacan, Bataan, Zambales, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and nearby towns in the region. Now they are slowly but surely creeping in Cagayan, near where the two Edca sites are located,” Barbers said.

TAGS: AFP, BI, Chinese influx, DFA, EDCA, Makabayan bloc

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