The apparent surge of several Chinese workers in the country should not be a cause of concern, Malacañang assured the public on Thursday, dismissing former President Benigno Aquino III’s claim that Chinese nationals were taking over the jobs intended for Filipinos.
In a statement during the launch of a book tackling the South China Sea, Aquino said businessmen had raised concerns on the alleged rising number of Chinese workers in the country.
The former president said the Chinese migrant workers were taking the jobs meant for Filipinos in the construction industry.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo, however, was quick to sound out Aquino’s claim.
“Let’s just say that if he is concerned, we will also be concerned if his basis is correct. What was his basis? Was the statistics made by him or his group? Where did he get that information?” said Panelo.
The Palace official surmised the possible increased number of Chinese workers in the construction industry could be caused by the supposed absence of Filipino manpower.
According to him, he himself had a difficult time looking for a carpenter for his own house.
“My personal experience is, I’ve been looking for a carpenter for six months, I only had one after finding (sic) for six months,” he said.
Asked if he agreed to the claim that Chinese workers were taking the jobs that should be for Filipinos, Panelo said: “Not that I agree, [but] that is probably the reality now.”
The Palace then stressed, “If they came here through lawful means, then I am not alarmed. I will be alarmed if they are here because they violated the law.”
In November 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte said Chinese employees working in the country through illegal means should be deported.
But he noted that the government must exercise caution as other Filipino workers might suffer the same fate overseas.
Asked if the government would accept the reality of illegal employment setup overseas, the President said the setup was not okay, but there must be an arraignment.
“If you think that you are at a loss, at a disadvantage because there are so many Chinese nationals working here, remember that we have the same equal amount of people Filipinos who are there working in China. But they did not report anyone. So, maybe you can just tell them [Chinese] to go home,” he continued.
“Otherwise, if you start to get rough on this issue, there is a distinct possibility that it will also happen to you. So, you know when you sail your ship of state, you avoid turbulent waters,” he added.
Earlier that month, the Bureau of Immigration deported 36 Chinese nationals who were earlier caught illegally working in online gambling dens and in shopping malls in Metro Manila.”‹