Hontiveros: Influx of illegal Chinese workers in PH an ‘assault in sovereignty, economy’
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday said that the reported influx of illegal Chinese workers is a “direct assault” on the Philippines’ sovereignty and economy at a time when many are suffering from inflation and unemployment.
Hontiveros was reacting to the arrest of 11 Filipinos and 93 Chinese nationals during a raid in Pasig City for alleged involvement in illegal online gambling, which led the Senate to launch a probe on the influx of illegal Chinese workers in the country.
Hontiveros noted that the Chinese workers in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) took advantage of the country’s lax laws and government.
“In the case of Chinese workers in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) industry, they are not desperate workers from a poor country forced to go abroad and seek job opportunities in a rich country,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“These are citizens of a superpower nation coming to a developing country to take advantage of our lax laws and government negligence,” she added.
Hontiveros pointed out the Chinese government’s “indifference and lack of strong action” which seems to point an effort “to undermine our national integrity.”
The senator also cited the threat of a debt trap from Chinese loans and China’s incursions into the country’s territory.
“These are not the actions of a friendly state but rather of a bully who thinks our country is its province and playground,” she said.
Hontiveros then called on the Duterte administration to ensure that jobs which Filipinos are qualified for be made available and that workers have access to training programs to keep up with changes in the workplace and develop new skills.
She added that the POGO industry be strictly regulated, revenues are monitored and taxes are paid and facilities are not used to commit crimes.
Hontiveros said that she is not opposed to foreign workers who comply with the country’s laws and respects the rights of Filipino workers. What the country opposes is the government’s “negligence and timidity” on the issue.
“As a country with a large number of citizens working abroad, we are not against foreign workers. What we oppose is the government’s negligence and timidity on this issue that has made our people, particularly Filipino workers, second class citizens in their own country,” she said. /jpv
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