Reelectionist Senator Nancy Binay on Thursday called on the Bureau of Immigration to cancel the special working permits it issued to Chinese construction workers working in different infrastructure projects in the country.
Binay said that the BI’s issuance of SWPs is illegal and contrary to law, and the agency should start detaining and deporting these workers.
Construction workers and other work connected to manual labor are not included in the issuance of SWPs, Binay said.
Foreign construction workers, cashiers, waiters, janitors, household workers, carpenters, garbage collectors, security guards, and warehouse caretakers are forbidden in the SWP’s supplemental guidelines.
The senator also wants the Department of Labor and Employment to start inspecting construction sites to find out if Chinese workers there have permits.
Some reports said Chinese construction workers working in Chinese-funded infrastructure sites under the “Build, Build, Build” program have no working permits.
There are around 138,000 foreign nationals that have been given SWPs in 2018, and 56,180 of these are Chinese working in online gaming operations in the country, according to combined data from the BI and DOLE.
DOLE said Thursday it will issue new guidelines on foreign workers drafted in coordination with other government agencies, including the Bureau of Immigration and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
An interagency committee met last week and reviewed a list of foreign workers and their job description submitted by the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators, and those working without the required SWP from the BI or alien employment permit from the department.
“This will all be addressed when we release a memorandum or guidelines governing the entry of foreign workers. It’s not about the nature of the job, it’s whether the job can be done by Filipinos,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.
He said that strict monitoring of the foreign workers will require more DOLE personnel to validate the list of workers submitted by the companies who were given license to operate POGOs.
Bello recommended the hiring of 5,000 additional labor laws compliance officers to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez to supplement the monitoring workforce for foreign workers and private establishments in the country.
Dominguez said the hiring of additional labor inspectors will entail around P2.5 billion, but the government is expected to collect around P22 billion to P40 billion in taxes from the foreign workers in the Philippines.
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