House of Reps begins probe on surge of Chinese students in Cagayan

House of Reps begins probe on surge of Chinese students in Cagayan

ON Wednesday, May 22nd, the House of Representatives began its investigation into the alleged surge of Chinese students in various higher education institutions in Cagayan province, for the years 2023 to 2024.

This comes after Cagayan 3rd District Representative Joseph ‘Jojo’ Lara filed House Resolution 1666 on the 20th of March, earlier this year.

Lara filed the resolution after receiving reports that there are around 4,600 Chinese students in St. Paul University Philippines (SPUP) – a private university in the city of Tuguegarao.

Congressman Lara says this is very alarming.

“We just want to know why. We are not against having foreign students, but what we fear is we have an issue with China. If there are 4,600 Chinese students in one private university and the private university even admits it, it is very alarming” said Rep. Joseph ‘Jojo’ Lara, 3rd District, Cagayan.

SPUP denies having 4,600 Chinese students

But during the House Committee hearing on Wednesday, St. Paul University Philippines denied having this many Chinese students, a fact that the Bureau of Immigration also backed up.

“We never reached 4,600 total of Chinese students enrolled in any year at St. Paul University Philippines. Many of them are in Tuguegarao. [How many are attending face-to-face classes?] About 200 po. [What are the others doing?] The others since they came before, since they went home sometime, their visas expired, their student visas expired so they had to apply for a new tourist visa,” stated Dr. Jeremy Godofredo Morales, Director for Internationalization, St. Paul University of the Philippines.

“We have no data showing of the 4,600 students,” said Atty. Norman Tansingco, Commissioner, Bureau of Immigration.

Cong. Lara, misled by wrong information Atty. Panelo

Due to this, former Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Atty. Salvador Panelo believes that just like President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Congressman Lara was misled with the wrong information.

“His information is wrong – the same as the information President Marcos Jr. received about the Yolanda Rehabilitation Program, that’s why he was misled. That’s the problem. When you rely on your people, without them properly doing their job, you’ll definitely be misled,” according to Atty. Salvador ‘Sal’ Panelo, Former Chief Presidential Legal Counsel.

It can be remembered that the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines immediately responded to Lara’s claims in the month of April saying there are Philippine politicians who are hyping up the maritime issues between the two countries in the name of national security to serve their political agenda and self-interests and undermine China-Philippines cooperation.

“Individual Philippine politicians are hyping up China-Philippines maritime issues and exaggerating the maritime differences in the name of national security to serve their political agenda and self-interest and undermine China-Philippines cooperation. The unfounded accusation of our educational exchanges is yet another malicious sleight of hand to incite suspicion and hatred of China,” statement from Chinese Embassy in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Atty. Panelo stressed that having a congressional hearing was unnecessary.

Since the lawmaker made the accusations publicly, Atty. Panelo said that St. Paul University Philippines could have just issued an official statement in order to refute Congressman Lara’s claims.


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