Fears raised of silent China invasion

By Beting Laygo Dolor, Editor

MANILA  —  Is China now doing what Japan did prior to invading the Philippines at the onset of World War ll?

This prospect was brought up this week after it was learned that a large number of Chinese students had enrolled in schools in Cagayan. Some had even paid as much as P2 million to colleges to obtain degrees, while others don’t even bother to attend classes.

University of the Philippines professor Chester Cabalza pointed out that Cagayan where he hails from faces Taiwan.

China has made it clear that it is not discounting an invasion of Taiwan, which it considers a rogue province. The US, however, has vowed to protect Taiwan much the same way it has guaranteed to defend the Philippines in the event of an invasion by hostile forces.

The province has two Filipino military installations where US troops have been granted access.

Cabalza’s revelation has caused concern over the Chinese students’ presence in the area.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it would look into the “swarm” of Chinese students in Cagayan.

More than 4,600 Chinese nationals had reportedly enrolled in a private university and rented homes in various locations in Tuguegarao.

The AFP will coordinate with the Philippine National Police (PNP) on the matter, said AFP spokesperson Col. Francel Margareth Padilla.

“The AFP takes seriously any reports so were looking into this, but in terms of peace and order issues, that is the mandate of the PNP,” she told local media this week.

Padilla added that the AFP “will be working with them (PNP) on the matter, so investigations will be on their end, and if there will be AFP requirements from their end, then we will be extending our assistance accordingly.”

Cagayan Gov. Manuel Mamba said he believes the Chinese students in his province are not a security threat.

“The presence of Chinese students in Cagayan and nationwideis the result of an agreement by Chinese learning institutions and the Commission on Higher Education,” said Mamba.

The agreement was finalized in 2019 between CHED and the Education Ministry of China.

It was not the first time that the influx of Chinese was seen as a potential beginning of an actual invasion, with hundreds of young Chinese men with military haircuts and bearing appearing in Metro Manila and other places during the previous Duterte administration.

It was later found out that they were mostly employees of POGOs, or Philippine Overseas Gaming Operations.

Various quarters have been calling for the banning of POGOs as they are said to be centers of prostitution, drug distribution, and other nefarious activities.

Although the presence of the Chinese “students” may or may not be a prelude to an invasion, what is clear to the government and to most Filipinos is the Chinese Coast Guard as been intruding Philippine waters, claiming it to be their territory. This, despite the incursions happening well within the country’s exclusive economic zone.

Prior to the start of World War ll hostilities in the Pacific, large numbers of Japanese men had migrated to the Philippines, usually on the pretext of establishing businesses. In fact, they were discovered to be spies, who then joined the Japanese forces that invaded the Philippines as part of their country’s war effort.

While WWll had started earlier in Europe, the US entered the fray after its naval installation in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii was bombed by the Japanese on December 7, 1941.

The next day Japan then bombed the US bases stationed in the Philippines, then an American protectorate.