PH Coast Guard denies Chinese auxiliary members are spies

PH Coast Guard denies Chinese auxiliary members are spies

By: - Reporter / @JMangaluzINQ
/ 01:45 PM March 21, 2024

China says Philippines enlisted 'foreign forces' to patrol South China Sea

REUTERS FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — There is no proof that the Chinese nationals who were recruited to be members of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA) are spies, coast guard spokesperson Rear Admiral Armand Balilo said on Thursday.

A House of Representatives committee hearing on Wednesday revealed that the PCGA had enlisted Chinese nationals as voluntary members for its humanitarian undertakings. The revelation came amid heightened tensions between Manila and Beijing over the West Philippine Sea.

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READ: House hearing reveals Chinese nationals recruited to PCG auxiliary

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“Wala po tayong matibay na basehan para ma-akusahan sila na Chinese spies. Ang sabi ko nga sa inyo, nagkaroon din kami ng vetting noong sila ay nag-apply at matagal na sila tumutulong sa Coast Guard sa aspect po ng humanitarian assistance donation,” said Balilo on the Baging Pilipinas Ngayon public briefing.

(We do not have strong evidence to accuse them of being Chinese spies. As I said, there was a vetting process when they applied, and they have long assisted the Coast Guard in humanitarian assistance donations.)

READ: Chinese auxiliaries not involved in PCG website hacking–spokesman

The PCG spokesperson reiterated that these Chinese auxiliary members had nothing to do with the agency’s sensitive operations.

A total of 36 Chinese nationals were delisted from the PCGA in December 2023.

Balilo explained that these Chinese nationals joined the PCGA in 2015, when the tensions in the West Philippine Sea were not as heightened as today.

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TAGS: China, Philippine Coast Guard, Spying, West Philippine Sea

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