Seven out of 10 Filipinos are worried about the rising number of Chinese workers in the Philippines, who are perceived “threats” by the majority of respondents, a poll from the Social Weather Stations showed.
Malacañang said Friday it was not surprised with the survey results.
“It is a matter of research methodology,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
The survey, conducted from Sept. 27 to 30, asked respondents: How worried are you with the increasing number of foreign Chinese working here in the Philippines?
“Necessarily, the response is logical and expected because the question already assumes that there exists a cause of worry,” Panelo said.
Fifty-two percent of 1,800 respondents agreed that the increasing number of Chinese working in the country was a “threat to the country’s overall security,” according to the poll.
SWS said visibility of Chinese workers was highest in Metro Manila, where 43 percent of respondents said they saw “very many” or “somewhat many” workers.
This was followed by Visayas at 37 percent, Luzon at 28 percent, and Mindanao at 19 percent.
Meanwhile, survey results showed that worry about the growing number of Chinese workers was highest in Metro Manila at 75 percent, followed by the Visayas at 71 percent, Balance Luzon at 69 percent, and Mindanao at 67 percent.
Early this year, officials expressed concern over the large number of Chinese working in the Philippines, many of whom are employed in online gambling operations that are supposed to be regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
President Rodrigo Duterte has sought to establish a warmer relationship with Beijing since he assumed office in 2016, but China‘s aggressiveness in the South China Sea sparked anti-China sentiments among Filipinos.
“Those who are opposed to the President's pivot to China by reason of his independent foreign policy, would put political color and tweak and highlight the result of this survey question for political propaganda purposes,” Panelo said.
“The Filipino people are assured that this administration is strict in enforcing the law, especially those pertaining to our immigration and labor policies. The President, as always, will prioritize the interests of the Filipino people and our local labor force,” he added.
The survey, with a margin of error at ±2.3 percent for national percentages, was conducted nationwide through face-to-face interviews.
The survey items on people's opinions on Chinese workers were non-commissioned, which means they were "included on SWS' own initiative and released as a public service."