By Zaldy De Layola

(File photo)

MANILA – Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers on Wednesday urged the government to investigate the suspicious influx of Chinese nationals in areas near the Philippine-US Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites and other major seaports and airports in the country.

Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, said the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), as lead agencies, should be held responsible and accountable for the continuing and suspicious arrival and presence of the Chinese nationals in various parts of the country.

“Dapat lang siguro na alamin natin at imbestigahan ng BI kung ilang Chinese nationals na ba talaga ang nasa loob ng ating bansa, ano ang nature ng hawak nilang mga travel documents, at kung saan saang parte ng ating bansa sila naka-deploy (Maybe we should find out and BI should investigate as to how many Chinese nationals are actually in the country, what is the nature of the travel documents they hold, and where in which part of the country they are deployed),” Barbers said in a news release.

Barbers said he wants to know “if our DFA officials in China are diligently doing their job in approving the visa of these Chinese nationals who are entering the country.”

“Dapat din siguro alamin natin sa kanila kung ang status ng mga Chinese nationals na binigyan nila ng visa, ang bilang ng mga pumunta dito at bumalik sa China, at ilan pa ang numero ng mga naiwan pa dito (Maybe we should also determine the status of the Chinese nationals granted with visa, the number of those who arrived and who went back to China, and the number of those still in the country),” he added.

Barbers said all concerned agencies should be aware of the Chinese mafia engaged in the procurement and processing of fake documents.

“The question is: What have these government agencies done to counter the tampering of their respective offices’ documents? They are all eerily quiet on this issue. Are some of the officials of said agencies in cahoots or enabled by the Chinese mafia?” Barbers asked.

Barbers said based on initial information received by his office, the “fake Filipino nationals” who can’t even utter a single Filipino word, use their Filipino enablers in the buying spree of huge tracts of lands near EDCA sites, near major air and sea ports, and establish large number of warehouses and other business establishments.

“One can see those warehouses sprouting like mushrooms in Central Luzon, particularly in Pampanga and Bulacan, Bataan, Zambales, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and nearby towns in the region. Now they are slowly but surely creeping in Cagayan near where the two EDCA sites are located,” he said.

Five Philippine military installations were designated in 2016 as EDCA sites, and they include Basa Air Base in Pampanga; Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija; Antonio Bautista Air Base in Palawan; Mactan-Benito Ebuen Air Base in Cebu; and Lumbia Air Base in Cagayan de Oro.

The four latest additional EDCA sites, as announced by the US Defense Department, include Naval Base Camilo Osias in Sta. Ana, Cagayan, Camp Melchor Aquino in Gamu, Isabela; Balabac Islands in Palawan; and Lal-Lo Airport in Cagayan.

“Ang deployment at pagbili ng lupa, pagtatayo ng negosyo ng mga Chinese nationals na malapit sa EDCA sites ay dapat bigyan tuon ng mga concerned agencies sa ating bansa. Hindi ba tayo dapat mag-usisa at alamin bakit sila nandyan at kung ano talaga ang ginagawa nila dyan (The deployment at purchase of land, construction of businesses by Chinese nationals near EDCA sites should be given attention by the concerned agencies in the country.” Barbers said. (PNA)