Palace dismisses Aquino's concern over surge in Chinese workers
Former President Benigno Aquino III receive the first copy of the South China Sea Arbitration during book launch on Tuesday, January 22, 2019, at De La Salle University in Manila. The book authored by Alfredo Robles Jr.
The STAR/KJ Rosales

Palace dismisses Aquino's concern over surge in Chinese workers

( - January 24, 2019 - 3:37pm

MANILA, Philippines — Amid concerns raised by former President Benigno Aquino III, the surge of Chinese workers in the Philippines is "probably the reality now," according to presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

Aquino earlier urged the Duterte administration to look into the supposed increasing number of Chinese workers in the country as they might be getting jobs meant for Filipinos.

The former president particularly noted the surge of Chinese migrant workers in the construction industry, which Panelo questioned.

"Let's just say that if he is concerned, we will also be concerned if his basis is correct. What was his basis?" Panelo said in a press briefing.

Panelo also justified the alleged surge in Chinese workers, claiming that the Philippines lacks construction workers as they have supposedly gone to work abroad.

"We lack so many construction workers that is why many Chinese workers are being hired because there are no more Filipinos. Many Filipinos are unemployed and yet they lack the skill so we need to teach them," Panelo added.

The Malacañang spokesman said that President Rodrigo Duterte has instructed the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to address the issue of the alleged lack of Filipino construction workers.

Last year, there have been calls for the Senate to look into the influx of Chinese nationals who are employed and residing in the Philippines.

Sen. Leila de Lima warned of the possibility that the country's economy is being too dependent on Chinese tourists and clients.

In November, the Department of Labor and Employment said it has yet to verify the actual number of Chinese workers in the country.

DOLE data showed that 115,652 alien employment permits have been issued from 2015 to 2017, 51,980 of which are for Chinese workers. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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