Press Release
August 30, 2023

Tolentino to Brawner: Is military student exchange program with China still ongoing?

MANILA -- Senator Francis "Tol" N. Tolentino, who is also a member of the Commission on Appointments, clarified with CSAFP Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. if the exchange program with China is still ongoing.

During Gen. Brawner's confirmation hearing at the Commission on Appointments last Wednesday, August 30, Sen. Tol asked: "Tuloy ba 'yong exchange programs natin with the People's Republic of China? Intelligence course, mechanized division courses, airborne courses, etc.? Pangalawa, do we still accept students coming from the People's Republic of China?"

Gen. Brawner clarified that the exchange student program with China has been "covered under a Memorandum of Agreement on Defense Cooperation since 2004" to foster stronger military ties.

"We don't have any students right now who are studying in China. And we also don't have Chinese students studying here in the Philippines," Gen. Brawner added.

Brawner revealed that he has ordered the temporary stoppage of sending Filipino officers to China this year following the August 05 incident of Chinese coast guard ship water cannoning a Philippine supply boat in the contested West Philippine Sea.

Brawner has also ordered the further study of the Memorandum of Agreement on Defense Cooperation with China.

"So it's not just the sending of soldiers. Pero talagang pag-aaralan na po natin kung ano po yung magiging military relations natin with China, especially after the incidents that happened. Baka kailangan po i-revisit natin ito, baka kailangan natin ayusin yung ibang provisions dito, and to make sure that China agrees with that. So iyon po yung ating direction now," Brawner stressed.

With this development, Senator Tolentino urged Gen. Brawner to provide updates on the results of the study.

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