Tuguegarao mayor says foreign students have nothing to do with Edca

Tuguegarao mayor says foreign students in Cagayan have nothing to do with Edca

Cagayan province map. INQUIRER FILES

MANILA, Philippines — Tuguegarao Mayor Maila Ting-Que defended the presence of foreign students in Cagayan province, saying they have nothing to do with the country’s military pact with the US.

Ting-Que said in a forum on Saturday that foreign students were already present in Cagayan even before the announcement that a site under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Arrangement (Edca) will be built in the province.

She said schools in Cagayan have started internationalization and globalization since some of them were already on par with global higher education institutes.

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

“A lot of our schools have started [what the CHEd (Commission on Higher Education) did] with them, [the] internationalization and globalization, there were marching orders actually to have these schools be offered abroad [because] we are [on] par with other universities in Manila, we are [on] par with other universities internationally,” Ting-Que said during the Pandesal forum in Quezon City.

The mayor issued the remarks following claims of an influx of Chinese students to Cagayan. The controversy prompted calls for investigations – specifically for CHEd to verify reports that Chinese students were paying as high as P2 million to get their degrees even without attending classes.

But the mayor said such an inquiry may be tantamount to “racial profiling.”

“It is unfortunate that Tuguegarao City has to be dragged into the controversy that amounts really to an investigation that has become racial profiling,” Ting-Que said.

“Before Cagayan was chosen as a possible Edca site, nandito na po ang mga foreign students ( the foreign students were already here). So it has nothing to do with Edca,” she added.

READ: Senators sound alarm over Chinese students’ activities in Cagayan

Ting-Que also said that the city government never paid on the scholarship of any foreign student.

“We would like to clarify that Tuguegarao City has not spent one single centavo on any scholarship for any foreign student, be they Chinese, Japanese, Nigerian, Indian, Thai, Korean, Indonesian,” she said.

Ting-Que said Tuguegarao City is open to anyone whether for residency, leisure, or learning.

Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba, meanwhile, vouched that locals and foreigners in the province have a good relationship. He likewise said is “against war and foreign force” in the province.

“For so many years na nandito sila, there was never a single complaint against any of them and wala rin silang complaints sa aming mga locals, which means harmonious po ang relationship with our foreigners here,” Mamba said.

“We are friend to everyone and foe to no one, and this is our stand. This is my personal stand, I am against war, I am also against any foreign force in my province,” he added.