Senator Koko Pimentel during Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Organizational Meeting today, August 19 assured Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua that Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in China are not spies but are there to work.
“Let me assure China, there are no Filipino spies in China. Kaya wag silang mag-alala, ang mga Pilipino po na nasa China ay para po sa pagta-trabaho,” Senator Koko said.
This is after Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on August 17 said Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua told him in a text message “What if we also think that your overseas workers are also spying on us. What can you say about that?”
National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that there is a possibility that Chinese POGO workers near Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) camps and naval bases could be tapped for information gathering.
“It could be just coincidental because these were the only facilities offered for POGO operations and I believe that the POGO workers are here only just for work only. What I am alarmed is the potential that they could be tapped for info gathering purposes,” the national defense chief said. “That is why I support the relocation of the Pogo centers to eco zones that are not proximate to military camps.”
“Knowing that Chinese companies are mandated by the Chinese government to assist in intel collection for their government, it is not far fetched that individuals likewise could be compelled to do so,” he explained.