‘Unjust’ remarks vs Chinese students hit

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — “Unjust” and negative statements made by politicians regarding the presence of Chinese students in Cagayan contradict the Philippines’ efforts to attract Chinese tourists and investors, according to the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. (FFCCCII).

“We express our profound concern over recent inflammatory remarks made by certain politicians regarding the presence of a small number of Chinese students in Cagayan,” FFCCCII president Cecilio Pedro said in a statement on Tuesday.

These remarks jeopardize “our international reputation as a premier destination for tourism and investment, especially in the flourishing market of education tourism across Asia,” he added.

“We unequivocally denounce the unjust criticism directed towards Chinese students who have come to the Philippines to enhance their English proficiency. It is disheartening to witness such unwarranted attacks, particularly when our ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) neighbors such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore host significantly larger numbers of Chinese students,” he noted.

He said the remarks not only undermine the country’s hospitality but also hamper efforts for stronger ties and to de-escalate tensions between the two countries.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros has filed a resolution to look into the national security implications of foreigners using falsified or illegally obtained documents to pose as Filipinos amid reports of a spike in Chinese enrollees in education institutions using questionable entry credentials.

Resolutions were also filed at the House of Representatives to probe the alleged surge of Chinese nationals in Cagayan.

To help promote cultural exchange and mutual understanding, Pedro said the FFCCCII has facilitated the education of Filipino students in China who share their knowledge of Mandarin when they return home.

“This initiative aims to promote cross-cultural dialogue and cooperation, ultimately enhancing tourism, economic collaboration and better public diplomacy between our countries,” he added.

Pedro called for a more constructive discourse that “respects diversity and promotes harmony.”

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