No letup in crackdown  on illegal aliens — Immigration
President Duterte said illegal aliens must indeed be deported but crackdowns must be done with caution since there are also illegal Filipino workers in other countries.
Krizjohn Rosales
No letup in crackdown on illegal aliens — Immigration
Evelyn Macairan, Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - November 30, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The government should tighten the issuance of work permits to foreigners to discourage the illegal entry and stay in the Philippines of foreign nationals, congressmen belonging to the minority bloc said yesterday as the Bureau of Immigration (BI) gave assurance it is continuously working to deport illegal aliens from the country.

President Duterte said illegal aliens must indeed be deported but crackdowns must be done with caution since there are also illegal Filipino workers in other countries.

The Federation of Free Workers has also called on Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to immediately act on illegal aliens, particularly the undocumented Chinese nationals working in the country.

BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said she could not give an estimate on the number of illegal foreign workers currently in the country amid reports that 52,000 of them are Chinese.

But she stressed they are careful when deporting them. “A thorough investigation (is conducted) to ensure that those arrested are really erring foreigners. We ensure that all information received are verified, checked and re-checked,” Sandoval said, adding the deported foreigner is blacklisted and barred from re-entering the country. 

Sandoval said they have coordinated with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and deployed intelligence officers in different parts of the country to search for people illegally working in the country.

The immigration official confirmed there are illegal aliens working in call centers and online gaming casinos.

Improve regulations

Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said the concerned agencies should allow employment of foreign workers only after a determination that no Flipinos could do the job.

Suarez said it puzzles him and members of the minority that the DOLE has been issuing alien employment permits to Chinese to become construction workers.

Suarez noted that of the alien employment permits the DOLE issued from 2015 and 2017, half were given to Chinese nationals, many of them working in retail and online gambling shops, jobs he said Filipinos could do.

“Construction work is no doubt within the abilities of any Filipino. In fact, it is one of the most common employment opportunities for many Filipinos who find it difficult to land a permanent job. I see no reason why there is a need to employ Chinese workers for such kind of work,” he added.

Suarez pointed out that Filipino workers should not “suffer the consequences of the perceived slack of the government’s regulatory mechanisms intended to protect the interests of the public.”

“Given the lack of insight of the frontline agencies and poor inter-agency coordination, this situation defeats the intention and efforts of the national government to provide job opportunities to Filipinos,” Suarez stressed.

Rep. John Bertiz of party-list ACTS-OFW, an assistant minority leader, said it is almost certain that there is corruption in the issuance of employment permits to foreigners.

“How else could they explain the grant of work permits to Chinese construction workers?” Bertiz asked.

Bertiz said aside from DOLE, the BI “issues special work permits.”

“Foreign workers, mostly Chinese, enter the country as tourists. When their tourist visas expire, their Filipino-Chinese or Filipino contacts apply for special work permits for them from BI that allow them to stay longer and work in the country. It’s almost a syndicated operation,” Bertiz said.  – With Mayen  Jaymalin

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