education in the Philippines

Cagayan schools deny allegations on Chinese students

sherwin de vera

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Cagayan schools deny allegations on Chinese students
Four schools in northern Philippines say the allegations that Chinese students in Tuguegarao City are spies 'display racism and Sinophobia'

VIGAN CITY, Philippines – Several higher education institutions (HEIs) in Cagayan refuted a House of Representatives resolution that raised concerns about the supposed increasing number of Chinese students enrolled in tertiary schools in the province. 

Representatives Joseph Lara and Faustino Dy V had filed separate resolutions urging the lower house to investigate the situation in Tuguegarao City, the capital of Cagayan. House Resolution 1666, filed by Lara, described the situation as “highly suspicious and alarming.” 

However, the heads of St. Paul University Philippines (SPUP), Medical Colleges of Northern Philippines (MCNP), University of Cagayan Valley (UCV), and University of Saint Louis Tuguegarao (USLT) criticized the allegations and concerns as “a display of racism and Sinophobia.” 

“The insinuation that the presence of Chinese students in the City’s Universities poses a threat to national security is not only baseless but also deeply offensive. It is a blatant display of racism and Sinophobia that has no place in our society, especially within the realm of education,” the schools said in a Thursday, April 18 joint statement. 

They also disputed the reported 4,600 Chinese students enrolled, claiming the figure was “not only grossly overstated but completely baseless.” According to them, as of April 17, SPUP had 486 foreign graduate students, while the three other schools “do not have foreign students at the moment.”  

In their statement, the four Cagayan HEIs explained that they have “stringent admission criteria and screening process” to ensure that applicants are qualified. They also presumed regularity in accepting the students since the Department of Foreign Affairs and Bureau of Immigration vetted the applicants.  

“We take the safety and security of our students and faculty seriously, and any insinuation otherwise is not only unfounded but also insulting,” the schools said.  

They also denied allegations that Cagayan universities are “diploma mills,” rejecting claims that Chinese students spend up to P2 million to obtain degrees. The schools said this is “not only insulting but may also be libelous.”  

They also criticized the suggestion that the Chinese students are spies, stating that this is “unfounded” and “perpetuates harmful stereotypes.” 

In a statement also on Thursday, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said that while SPUP has a “significant number of Chinese students enrolled,” no other colleges and universities in Cagayan have Chinese students. 

“SPUP is a higher educational institution granted autonomous status by CHED since 2002 and has an Authority to Accept Foreign Students by the Bureau of Immigration,” said CHED Chairperson Prospero De Vera. 

He also said the agency had not received any complaints regarding SPUP’s alleged violation of Joint Memorandum Order No. 01-2017 of the Inter-Agency Committee on Foreign Students. 

“On the security aspect, we leave the matter to the expertise of our security agencies to investigate and recommend appropriate actions. We will support and attend congressional investigations and other inter-agency meetings concerning these allegations,” De Vera said. –

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