Rep. Tulfo raises nat’l security concerns as Chinese students pay P1.2M tuition in Cagayan

May 26, 2024 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 75 views

HOUSE Deputy Majority Leader and ACT-CIS Partylist Rep. Erwin Tulfo has urged Congress for rigorous scrutiny of financial transactions within our educational institutions after learning that Chinese students were paying P1.2 million each just to enroll in the universities in the country, particularly in Cagayan province.

Tulfo was reacting to the revelation during the inquiry of the Committee on Justice chaired by Negros Occidental, 4th Dist. Rep. Juliet Marie Ferrer, “into the surge of alleged Chinese students enrolling in the various higher education institutions in Cagayan province, particularly in the city of Tuguegarao, with the end view of ensuring national security amidst the prevailing situation in the West Philippine Sea.”

Cagayan 3rd Dist. Rep. Joseph Lara, who sponsored the congressional inquiry, revealed that St. Paul University in Tuguegarao admitted that each Chinese student is paying P1.2 million just to enroll in the said school.

“It was not denied by the representative of St. Paul University, PJ Lappay, that the current fee paid by a Chinese student in St. Paul is one million two hundred thousand pesos (P1,200,000),” said Lara during his sponsorship speech.

Tulfo was shocked by the revelation as he raised concerns over our national security.

“The recent revelation that a Chinese student was paying P1.2 million in school fees in the Philippines raises significant national security concerns. This incident underscores the need for rigorous scrutiny of financial transactions within our educational institutions, especially those involving foreign nationals,” Tulfo said.

“It prompts an urgent review of our policies to ensure that they do not inadvertently compromise the country’s security and sovereignty. The government must act swiftly to implement measures that safeguard our national interests while maintaining the integrity and accessibility of our educational system,” Tulfo added.

The lawmaker said he also witnessed the presence of Chinese students during his recent visit to Tuguegarao a few weeks ago.

“Nagulat ako kasi karamihan sa mga sinasabi nilang mga estudyante ay hindi naman mga mukang estudyante. Karamihan sa kanila mga itsurang matanda na. Ito ang nakakabahala, baka mamaya sinasakop na nila ang ating bansa,” Tulfo questioned.

Apart from St. Paul University, it was revealed that an influx of Chinese students was also recorded at St. Louis University, also in Tuguegarao. Tulfo said he also received reports that Chinese students were also enrolled in Enrile and Sta. Ana, Cagayan.

He added that this startling amount has raised questions about the financial practices and fee structures within educational institutions in the country.

Cong. Lara said there have been about 4,600 Chinese students since the start of their internationalization program before the COVID pandemic in 2019; 1,200 Chinese students enrolled in 2023; and about 10,000 were the targeted number of Chinese students.

Meanwhile, the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) requested an executive session to present their investigation report on the influx of Chinese students in Cagayan, stating that it concerns our national security.

Cagayan is home to Naval Base Camilo Osias and Lal-lo Airport, which have been identified as Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites where the US military can deploy and preposition personnel, supplies, and material.