Palace vows ’full force of the law’ vs illegal Chinese workers in PH
MANILA, Philippines — Illegal Chinese workers in the Philippines would be dealt with the “full force of the law,” Malacañang clarified Monday, two days after President Rodrigo Duterte said he was in favor of letting them stay.
“The President’s policy on Chinese workers who are illegally staying in the country remains the same, which is the enforcement of immigration laws against violators,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement. “Our laws will be applied with full force and effect equally to all foreign nationals who violate them.”
In a speech in Biñan City, Laguna, on Saturday, the President said he would not deport Chinese workers in the country, saying that this might affect the Filipinos working in China.
“The Chinese here, just let them work here. Just let them. Why? We have 300,000 Filipinos in China,” the President said, speaking in mix Filipino and English during the campaign rally of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
Panelo said: “Chinese workers who have working permits and compliant with immigration rules and do not violate the laws of the land will be accorded the protection they are entitled to.”
“Enforcement of the immigration laws, however, doesn’t mean that we shall act recklessly on perceived violations of Chinese citizens,” he added. “To do so would be a dangerous policy as we have, as the President stressed in his campaign rally speech, thousands of Filipinos in China and its government might enforce a policy of tit for tat to the detriment of our countrymen in China.”
“The government will tread cautiously and in accordance with the Constitution in dealing with any matter involving Chinese migrants perceived or alleged to be staying illegally, given the situation of thousands of Filipinos staying in China not in accordance with its laws,” the Palace official went on. “The plight of our overseas Filipino workers remains foremost in the President’s mind.”
“Any problem however that may arise involving the entry and/or stay of Chinese citizens in blatant violation of our immigration laws will be dealt with strictly in accordance with law and with dispatch,” he said.
Panelo noted that Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua “had the occasion to state during his recent courtesy call with the President, that in the same way that the Chinese government enforces China’s laws against foreign nationals including Filipinos who violate them, so do Philippine laws will be enforced against foreign citizens including Chinese nationals who transgress them.” /atm
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