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PALACE STATEMENT ON ILLEGAL WORKERS DENIED

No tit-for-tat deportation threat, says Chinese Embassy

/ 05:38 AM March 01, 2019

The Chinese Embassy in Manila on Thursday disputed claims by Malacañang that Beijing would retaliate if Philippine authorities would round up and deport Chinese citizens illegally working in the country.

“China adheres to the principle of noninterference in other countries’ internal affairs,” the embassy said in a statement.

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The denial came after labor groups and a lawmaker lashed out at the Duterte administration for “kowtowing” to China after its ambassador “bullied” the government into not taking action against undocumented Chinese workers.

Ambassador Zhao Jianhua’s threat of tit-for-tat deportation of Filipinos working in China showed his government’s arrogance, according to the labor group Sentro.

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Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Zhao had told him that China would “do the same” if the Philippines would hastily deport Chinese illegals.

Philippine laws respected

The Chinese Embassy said it did not say that Beijing would take similar action should the Philippine government deport the Chinese workers.

“Chinese law enforcement agencies will continue to properly handle relevant issues concerning foreign nationals working illegally in China in accordance with laws and regulations,” it said.

China respects Philippine laws and regulations on employment of foreign nationals in the country, it added, noting that Chinese nationals should not stay or work illegally in foreign countries, including the Philippines.

It hopes that Philippine law enforcement agencies “would continue to deal with relevant issues in accordance with the laws and regulations in a professional manner,” the embassy said.

The Chinese government is not remiss in reminding its nationals to obey laws at all times when they are overseas, it said.

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Filipino first

Reelectionist Sen. Nancy Binay on Thursday said the government should give priority to the interest of Filipino workers and not be cowed by warnings of other countries to deport Filipinos working overseas.

“Why will we prioritize the interest of another nation, especially that we have a high unemployment rate?” Binay said in a Senate forum.

She was asked to comment on President Duterte’s recent statement that the government was cautious in deporting Chinese workers out of concern for 400,000 Filipinos working in China who risk being deported if Beijing retaliates against Manila’s actions.

Malacañang later said the government would still deport illegal aliens who violate Philippine immigration laws.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Sen. Panfilo Lacson earlier said authorities should strictly enforce the immigration laws, especially against illegal aliens. —REPORTS FROM JEROME ANING AND JULIE M. AURELIO

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TAGS: Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, Binay, China, Deportation, duterte, illegal Chinese workers, Panelo, Philippines, threat, tit for tat, Villanueva
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