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Tit-for-tat: PH visas on China visitors’ passports okayed

President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the proposal to resume stamping visas on Chinese passports, the Palace said Tuesday, reversing a policy set by the previous Aquino administration not to do so because they contained a map of China that includes territory claimed by the Philippines.

Tit-for-tat: PH visas on China visitors’ passports okayed
DU30 STAMPS APPROVAL. President Rodrigo Duterte, reversing a policy of his predecessor, has approved the proposal to stamp Philippine visas on Chinese passports, following a proposal by Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. during the Cabinet meeting Monday—which veers away from the stamping of Philippine visas on a separate application form ordered in 2012 by then-Secretary Albert del Rosario.
READ: PNP: No worry over Chinese exodus in PH

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. made the proposal during the Cabinet meeting on Monday and it was approved immediately by the President, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.

Starting in 2012 under then Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, the Philippines stamped visas for Chinese nationals on a separate application form.

The government said this was done “to avoid the Philippines being misconstrued as legitimizing” China’s extensive claims in the South China Sea under its 9-dash line policy.

But Locsin said the stamp used will show the entire Philippine map, including areas within its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“The stamp has the map of the entire Philippine EEZ to its widest extent including Benham Rise along with other territorial claims. So tit for tat,” Locsin said on his Twitter account Tuesday.

“We will be able to keep track of Chinese nationals entering via visa from our consulates in China or visas upon arrival [after shorter vetting period]—hitherto stamped on slips of paper no one could keep track of. Now visas stamped on permanent Chinese passports—so we know all,” Locsin added.

During the Cabinet meeting, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said his department will be closely monitoring the stay of Chinese tourists and will implement immigration measures should they exceed their allowable stay here, Panelo said.

The flurry of actions came after National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon warned of the recent influx of Chinese workers.

The Bureau of Immigration reported there were at least 3 million Chinese who arrived in the country over the last three years.

About 100,000 to 130,000 of them are registered workers in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO), which facilitates foreign online gaming.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue, during the meeting, also reported that the government has issued tax identification numbers to POGO workers and collected taxes from them.

“The Department of Finance estimated that P2 billion monthly revenues shall be collected from POGO,” Panelo said.

READ: China rules out ‘tit-for-tat’ on workers’ issue

READ: Malacañang plays down surge of Chinese workers

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte , Chinese passports , Teodoro Locsin Jr. , Albert del Rosario
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