Bishop: Influx of illegal Chinese workers ‘unfair’ to Filipinos

Bishop: Influx of illegal Chinese workers ‘unfair’ to Filipinos

Bishop Ruperto Santos, chairman of the CBCP Commission on Migrants and Itinerant People. NICO BALBEDINA

By CBCP News

February 27, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A Catholic bishop raised concern over the the seeming special treatment given to illegal Chinese workers in the country.

Bishop Ruperto Santos of Balanga said the immigration laws must apply to all, regardless of nationalities or status.

“Their entry, stay and work must be legal, and if not, so apply the law. No exception, no special treatment,” Santos said.

The bishop was reacting to President Rodrigo Duterte’s statement discouraging the deportation of undocumented Chinese workers in the Philippines.

Duterte’s remarks come amid an ongoing Senate investigation on the influx of Chinese into the country.

Nearly 2,000 Chinese nationals have been arrested for working without proper visas or permits in the past two years.

The biggest arrest was in 2016 when authorities rounded up more than 1,200 Chinese working in illegal online casinos in Pampanga.

On Feb. 7, immigration operatives arrested 30 Chinese nationals working illegally in several establishments in Parañaque City.

Bishop Santos also rejected Malacañang’s claim that the surge of Chinese workers was due to the lack of skilled Filipinos particularly in construction works.

“It could be that we are not giving them work and chose to give work to other nationalities. And thus it is unfair treatment to our fellow Filipinos,” he added.

The prelate urged the government to ensure that Filipinos are not robbed of job opportunities in their own country.

“Prioritize them, Filipinos first and give them work here so that there will be no need of going abroad,” Santos said.