CHED: No Chinese students in Cagayan public HEIs

By Stephanie Sevillano

April 19, 2024, 9:31 am

<p>Commission on Higher Education Chairperson J. Prospero De Vera III <em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

Commission on Higher Education Chairperson J. Prospero De Vera III (PNA file photo)

MANILA – No Chinese students are enrolled in public higher education institutions (HEIs) in Cagayan province, the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said on Thursday.

CHED Chairperson J. Prospero De Vera III made the remark in reaction to reports on the alleged influx of Chinese students in Cagayan, which some described as "alarming" amid China’s aggressive acts in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

"But there is a significant number of Chinese students enrolled in Saint Paul University Philippines (SPUP) - Tuguegarao City," De Vera said in a statement.

He said the SPUP, a private school, has the autonomy to accept foreign students from recognized foreign HEIs, including Chinese nationals, in line with its internationalization efforts.

"The foreign students are attracted by the affordable cost of quality education, the use of English as a medium of instruction, and the globally recognized quality of instruction in such fields as medicine, dentistry, optometry, physical therapy, public health, and engineering," De Vera said.

He also said the CHED has not received any complaint against SPUP.

"In case of complaint or reports of violation, CHED will forward the same to this inter-agency committee for its appropriate action," he added.

He was referring to the Inter-Agency Committee on Foreign Students, which is tasked to draw up the procedures and implement the guidelines governing the entry and stay of foreign students in the country in support of the government’s policy to promote the Philippines as a center for education in Asia and the Pacific.

Members of the committee are CHED, the departments of foreign affairs and education, Bureau of Immigration, National Bureau of Investigation, and National Intelligence Coordinating Agency.

Despite the allegations, the CHED maintained its stance in advancing the internationalization efforts of both public and private HEIs in the country.

‘Baseless, deeply offensive’

The concerned private HEIs in Cagayan, meanwhile, released a joint statement slamming the "baseless and deeply offensive" accusations against the enrolled foreign students in Cagayan.

These private HEIs include the SPUP, University of Cagayan Valley (UCV), University of St. Louis Tuguegarao (USLT), and Medical Colleges of Northern Philippines (MCNP).

"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," they said in a separate joint statement.

"The suggestion that Chinese students may be involved in espionage is not only unfounded but also reflects a dangerous stereotype that unfairly targets an entire group of individuals based on their nationality."

Besides this, the concerned private HEIs also denied reports of "4,600 enrolled number of students," which they described as "grossly overstated and baseless."

As of Wednesday, SPUP has 486 graduate students, including Americans, Chinese, Indonesians, Japanese, and Vietnamese nationals.

The UCV, USLT, and MCNP, meanwhile, have no foreign students at present. (PNA)