President Duterte said Filipino workers in China might be asked to leave if the Philippine government deports the Chinese workers in the country.
AFP/File
Duterte: Let Chinese nationals work here
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - February 25, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Chinese workers should be allowed to remain in the Philippines because deporting them could put at risk the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos in China, President Duterte said.

Duterte said Filipino workers in China might be asked to leave if the Philippine government deports the Chinese workers in the country.

“Let the Chinese workers work here. Why? We have 300,000 Filipinos in China,” Duterte said during a campaign rally of the PDP-Laban in Laguna last Saturday.

“That’s why I can’t...What if they say, ‘Get out of here, you will be deported.’ What if they ask the 300 (thousand Filipinos) to leave?” he added.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has issued almost 52,000 alien employment permits for workers from China.

In a recent Senate hearing, labor officials said Chinese enter the country using tourist visas before getting short-term permits to work mostly for online gaming firms. They admitted that more than 119,000 tourists, most of them Chinese, were able to skirt Philippine labor regulations.

In January, former president Benigno Aquino III voiced concern over the influx of Chinese workers in the Philippines, saying they might be taking jobs that should be for Filipinos.

Malacañang has downplayed Aquino’s concern, saying there is nothing worrisome about the entry of Chinese workers as long as they do so legally.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo has also claimed the Philippines lacked the skills because many Filipinos chose to work abroad.

Last November, Duterte said the government should be cautious about deporting Chinese workers because the Philippines is also sending workers to China.

“Yes, they (illegal Chinese workers) should be deported. But in the same manner, you should be careful because when you point to the Chinese you also point yourself at us. There are so many thousands of Filipinos working there or went inside China as tourists and working there,” the President told reporters in Bohol last Nov. 27.

“Remember it’s not just exploiting a story about the Chinese working here. We are doing the same thing in Malaysia. There are a lot of our women are there - in Indonesia, in China, in Korea,” he added.

Sen. Joel Villanueva made a proposal to remove the authority to issue special work permits (SWPs) to foreigners from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in the wake of the influx of Chinese workers in the country.

Villanueva blamed the BI for surge of illegal Chinese workers in the country employed in Philippine offshore gaming operations.

Villanueva said the BI has no expertise in determining whether job posts should be given to foreigners who want to work in the country — a task that he said, should be left to the DOLE.

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra opposed it, saying there is no need for legislative action to address the problem of foreigners illegally working in the country.

“This issue can be addressed in a faster way without amending the law,” Guevarra said yesterday.

Guevarra admitted there are loopholes in the implementation of the law covering foreign workers, but stressed this could be plugged through closer coordination between the BI, an attached agency of the Department of Justice, and the DOLE.

“It’s not a question of which agency should be solely responsible for the issuance of SWPs. The issue is how to tighten up the rules on SWPs. The BI and DOLE only need to work together on this,” he said.

An SWP allows a foreigner to work in the country for three months and could be extended for another three months. For periods longer than six months and for highly technical, specialized, supervisory and managerial jobs that cannot be fulfilled by Filipinos, foreigners are given long-term alien employment permits (AEPs)by the DOLE.

Guevarra cited for instance the lack of effective mechanism to monitor the status of all foreign workers in the country.

“The problem really is how to monitor the movement of each and every foreign worker after the expiration of his/her SWP issued by the BI or the AEPs issued by the DOLE. That requires a lot of intelligence resources so we can control the number at the outset or from their entry here,” Guevarra lamented. – Edu Punay

CHINESE WORKERS DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT
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