Senators stunned to learn PMA cadets study in Beijing Military Academy
MANILA, Philippines—Senators want the Philippines to limit its dealings with China following its latest harassment in waters within the country’s exclusive economic zone.
At a Senate hearing on Monday, Senator Raffy Tulfo asked Department of National Defense (DND) to immediately stop sending military personnel for studies in China.
His request follows Senator Francis Tolentino’s revelation that Filipino military officers graduated from Beijing Military Academy.
Tolentino said he got the information from documents submitted by nominees to the Commission on Appointments.
“We’ve stopped accepting cadets from the US, since 2008. Now we’re sending our cadets, PMA (Philippine Military Academy) graduates or cadets, to the Beijing Military Academy,” Tolentino revealed.
“Ano pong dahilan nito?” Tolentino asked DND officials.
The senator pointed out the United States is an ally while China has been harassing Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea.
Tulfo and Senator Jinggoy Estrada found the situation disturbing.
“Are we requiring them or encouraging our cadets to study at the Beijing Military Academy? I think this is quite alarming,” Estrada said.
Estrada heads the Senate committee on national defense.
Defense Undersecretary Irineo Espino responded he could not answer the question yet.
He said he himself must first find out the reasons the Philippines is sending cadets to China.
If this is true, Tolentino surmised Filipino military personnel studying in China may also be provided allowance and accommodations by China.
At the same time, they might be expected to learn its national anthem.
“Alarming indeed, Mr. Chairman,” Tolentino agreed.
At this point, Tulfo suggested that the Philippines halt its “military exchange” with China, considering its continued coercions of Filipino people.
“This has to stop. Sampal po ito sa atin. Binu-bully po tayo ng China, and yet yung ating military, walang magawa,” the senator said.
(This is a slap on the face for us. China is bullying us, and yet our military is helpless.)
“Tapos ngayon, yung mga military natin na hindi kayang harapin ang China para sabihing ‘stop,’ pinapadala natin sa China para mag aral. So, parang sampal po sa atin ito,” he observed the irony.
(And now, our military cannot confront China to say ‘stop,’ we are sending to China to study. So, it’s a slap on our face.)
“Can we put to stop to it? Put a break right away?” Tulfo further asked.
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros echoed earlier call to ban the firm Chinese Communication Construction Company (CCCC) from the country.
The recommendation follows China’s water cannon attack against Philippine boats last Saturday.
CCCC is a Chinese state-owned company operating in the Philippines.
“China is not a friend. She is not even a good neighbor,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“Hindi tayo papayag na wala tayong gawin habang inaabuso at inaalipusta niya ang ating mga kababayan sa sarili nating karagatan,” the lawmaker added.
(We will not allow a situation wherein we are not doing anything while our fellow countrymen are being abused and maligned in our own sea.)
“Banning one of their state-owned companies is a way to tell China that we will not tolerate any abuse anymore,” she stressed.
At the same time, the senator urged President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to summon the Chinese Ambassador and “take him to task about his country’s disgraceful behavior.”
“Ang dami nang atraso ng China sa Pilipinas. Bugbog na tayo pero dapat tayong tumayo at manindigan,” she said.
(China has committed so many incursions against the Philippines. We are already heavily mauled, but we must stand up and fight for our principles.)