Palace urged to form panel to look into influx of Chinese nationals
File photo shows Sen. Francis Pangilinan.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo
Palace urged to form panel to look into influx of Chinese nationals
(Philstar.com) - October 30, 2020 - 10:11am

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Francis Pangilinan on Thursday called on Malacañang to form an inter-agency task force to investigate the increased presence of Chinese nationals in the country. 

This comes after Pangilinan on Wednesday urged the Senate to conduct its own probe on the security implications of the entry of about four million Chinese nationals into the country since 2017. 

The investigation conducted by the executive branch, he said, may be led by an inter-agency task force composed of the Bureau of Immigration, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Labor and Employment, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, and the Department of National Defense.

"We must be on guard. If not, the next thing we know is we are already sharing a bed with the enemy," Pangilinan said. 

He stressed that not all Chinese nationals in the country should be treated with suspicion or hostility. "Many have lived in the Philippines for years and have become one among Filipinos," the senator said. 

READ: 'Frustration over sea dispute no reason to hate Chinese people'

"But the surge in their numbers to millions in the past few years should not be overlooked, especially in light of the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea and over reports of some of their illegal activities." 

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who led the panel investigation into the money-making schemes at the Bureau of Immigration flagged this data last October 20, saying "four million Chinese nationals arriving here since 2017 is comparable to more than the entire population of Quezon City."

"The BI can take off from this figure and find out where these four million Chinese are and how they entered the country and for what purpose. The DOLE should check their employment records and their work conditions. These basic records should be available if they are indeed legally staying in the country," Pangilinan said.

He also previously warned against the large number of Chinese retirees in the country, majority of whom are only 35 years old, comprising about 40% — or more than 27,000 — of the total number of foreign retirees. Sen. Richard Gordon called these statistics a national security issue.

In addition to the possible endangering of national security, Pangilinan said the unlawful activities of foreign nationals in the country also mean lost opportunities for Filipinos and lost income for the government. — Bella Perez-Rubio

RELATED: BI: Overstaying Chinese nationals with Visa Upon Arrival told to leave

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