Several Philippine senators expressed concern about the possible infiltration of up to 3,000 soldiers of the Chinese regime into their country, with a mission unknown so far.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the National Defense and Security Committee, said he received information that between 2,000 and 3,000 members of the Chinese military are in the country on “immersion missions” and for other as yet unknown purposes, according to Philippine media outlet Phil Star on March 5.
“The intelligence community should exert extra effort to gather information in this regard,” Lacson said.
Faced with the senator’s hesitation expressed through a tweet, the Chinese Embassy in Manila, the capital, said, “Is the senator testing the intelligence of the Philippine people?”
Is the Senator testing the intelligence of the Philippine people? 😱
— ChineseEmbassyManila (@Chinaembmanila) March 5, 2020
The authorities find that the boom presented in the country by gambling and online casinos for foreigners, called POGOs, would be encouraging the entry of members of the Chinese army.
The hundreds of millions of dollars produced by the industry could be the result of money-laundering operations.
This money could be used to finance espionage activities, buy weapons, or even finance destabilization activities, according to the alarm raised by Lacson.
Philippine Sens. Lacson, Richard Gordon, and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon warned that the Chinese communist regime would take advantage of the withdrawal of U.S. security support by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
Drilon insisted on the closure of the POGOs in the country, saying that they are becoming a “laundry” of dirty money.
“What is happening in our country is apparently rooted in the very presence of POGOs run by the Chinese,” Drilon said.
“If there were no POGOs, all these nefarious activities would serve no purpose,” he added.
Critics see the recent entry of thousands of Chinese citizens into the Philippines as a security risk.
In general, the population criticized President Duterte for the relations he has with the Chinese regime, which they describe as complacent.
Duterte allows the communist regime to build artificial islands in the South China Sea and signed high-interest loan agreements with Chinese companies for major infrastructure projects, compromising his country’s sovereignty, Foreign Policy reported.
There is some resentment among Filipinos and the group of residents of Chinese origin and ethnic Chinese descent, because the latter are generally wealthy and belong to the country’s elites.