De Lima: Allowing illegal Chinese workers here an act of cowardice
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Leila de Lima said Tuesday that allowing illegal Chinese workers in the country shows President Rodrigo Duterte’s “cowardice” in dealing with China.
“He justifies this with the lame excuse that China might retaliate against Filipinos working in China. But this only means a breakdown in the enforcement of Philippine laws against illegal Chinese workers,” De Lima said in a press dispatch from Camp Crame. “If we allow illegal Chinese workers, we might as well allow all other foreigners working illegally in the Philippines.”
Earlier, Duterte said that Chinese workers should be allowed to work in the country as their deportation might affect the thousands of Filipinos working in China.
“The Chinese here, just let them work here. Just let them. Why? We have 300,000 Filipinos in China,” Duterte said during a campaign rally of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in Biñan City, Laguna on Sunday.
“That’s why I cannot just say, ‘Leave. I will deport you.’ What if the 300,000 are suddenly kicked out?” he added.
For De Lima, the President’s “accommodation of Chinese interests is extraordinary.”
“He has practically surrendered the West Philippine Sea to China. He has basically given China a monopoly in Philippine infrastructure projects,” the senator said.
“He has barely raised a concern to the continued entry into the country of tons of “shabu” (crystal meth) from China,” she added.
“Whatever China has on Duterte, to be able to hold him firmly by the neck while we are gradually turned into a Chinese vassal state, is definitely working to its advantage,” De Lima said.
However, the Palace earlier clarified that it will enforce the “full force of the law” on illegal Chinese workers.
“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,” he added. /ee
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