Tulfo: AFP execs’ China training a ‘slap in PH face’ | Global News

Tulfo: AFP execs’ China training a ‘slap in PH face’

By: - Reporter / @MRamosINQ
/ 05:45 AM August 08, 2023

Raffy Tulfo —SENATE PRIB

Raffy Tulfo —SENATE PRIB

Senators on Monday raised the alarm bells on a training program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that has been sending senior officers to military schools in Beijing.

Sen. Raffy Tulfo called this a “slap in the face” of Filipinos in the wake of China’s latest aggressive acts in the West Philippine Sea.


At a Senate hearing, Sen. Francis Tolentino disclosed that a number of ranking AFP officials who faced the congressional Commission on Appointments had completed their schooling at the Beijing Military Academy and other training institutions of the communist People’s Liberation Army (PLA).


He added that he also received information that the Philippine National Police Academy had also been sending its cadets for training in China.

In contrast, Tolentino said the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), the country’s premier military school, had stopped accepting cadets from the United States since 2008.

“This is indeed very alarming. This has to be explained,” he told officials of the AFP and the Department of National Defense (DND).

“We have not been accepting cadets from our [military] treaty ally while we have been sending [our soldiers] to the country harassing us in the West Philippine Sea. What’s the rationale behind this? How did this happen?” Tolentino said.

Top officers

Defense Senior Undersecretary Irineo Espino responded to the senators by confirming the AFP has an ongoing military exchange program with China. He clarified that only officers with the rank of lieutenant colonel or higher may avail themselves of the yearlong training in Beijing.

Espino, a retired PMA superintendent, said he had also “heard” that PMA cadets were allowed to attend the Chinese military school though he has yet to verify this information.


However, he confirmed that the US government had not been sending American cadets to the PMA.

“There must be a reason why they stopped sending cadets from the United States,” Tolentino said.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said he was disturbed by Tolentino’s revelation, prompting him to ask the DND to submit an official report on the matter.

Tulfo said the DND must immediately pull the plug on the program as it only gave the PLA an opportunity to “infiltrate” the Philippine military hierarchy.

“We have to stop all dealings with China on military training,” Tulfo added.

He also cautioned the AFP and DND from using computer hardware from China, claiming these might contain “sleeper virus” that may be used by the Chinese to access the military’s computer system.

Tulfo said the AFP should start dismantling the facilities of Dito Telecommunity Corp. inside military camps. State-owned China Telecom has a 40-percent stake in Dito.

“This is one way to show the Chinese government that we will not allow them to enter our lands while they bully us in our seas,” he said.

In an earlier statement, Dito said its facilities would not be used as a tool for spying. It stressed it’s a “Filipino company.”

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In 2020, it tapped US-based cybersecurity firm Fortinet to ease the espionage concerns.


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