Get rid of Philippines, Chinese university partnerships, CHED urged

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
Get rid of Philippines, Chinese university partnerships, CHED urged
Photo taken last June shows senior high school graduates preparing to take the UPCAT at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos shouldn’t be sleeping with the enemy.

In light of China’s repeated incursions in the West Philippine Sea, a House of Representatives lawmaker suggested that it would be best for the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to remove partnership agreements recently signed between several Philippine and Chinese universities.

“The CHED, particularly Chairman Prospero de Vera, should cancel those partnerships. While we have been protesting against continuous Chinese aggression, here we have the CHED going the opposite direction by engaging with Chinese universities,” Cagayan de Oro 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said.

“He should take the cue from our military. We cannot do what De Vera and several of our universities have done, or we will be sleeping with the enemy. I support the actions taken by our military. We cannot have a frenemy and a bully joining us in watching over our own backyard, on which it has encroached and it does not want to leave despite our repeated protestations and arbitral victory,” Rodriguez, who chairs the House committee on constitutional amendments, added.

The lawmaker reminded CHED that no less than military officials have “stopped sending officers to China for education, training or social visits and has refused to conduct joint patrols with them within our maritime territory.”

With De Vera’s initiative, CHED is “sending the wrong signal that we, as a country and people, are not united in showing our dismay, disgust, disappointment and even anger over Chinese harassment and bullying of our soldiers, Coast Guard and fishermen in the WPS,” according to Rodriguez.

He said that instead of Chinese higher education institutions, local universities should partner with their counterparts in the United States, Japan, South Korea, Australia and other Philippine allies.

The Mindanaoan House leader also emphasized that these countries “have supported our sovereign rights over our 200-mile exclusive economic zone under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2016 international arbitral award.”

Rodriguez recently visited Seoul, South Korea together with members of the board of regents of the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP).

He said they signed a partnership agreement with Korea University and Sogang University, which are among the biggest higher education institutions in South Korea.

USTP President Butch Cultura signed the agreements for the state university, which has its main campus in Cagayan de Oro City.

Rodriguez said the engagements aim to strengthen USTP’s research and development programs and training of USTP professors on R&D at Sogang University in Seoul.

He added that they would also provide opportunities for USTP students to study under scholarships in Sogang University for three-year diploma courses after passing an online Korean language proficiency course.

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