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TRADE GROUP REACTS TO ROBREDO STATEMENT

Chinese-Filipinos resent ‘unfair’ drug dealer stereotype

/ 05:35 AM November 17, 2019

The Chinese-Filipino community is against being stereotyped as drug dealers amid claims by officials that the bulk of the narcotics sold in the Philippines comes from China and that members of the community were involved in the narcotics trade, according to a business group.

Such “unfair stereotypes” might lead to unnecessary conflicts and misunderstandings between the government and members of the community who are just trying to live normal lives here, the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. said in a statement.

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The federation, which was formed in the early 1950s and represents more than 170 member organizations, said Chinese-Filipinos should not be lumped together with “a handful of wrongdoers or bad apples.”

“We want to reiterate that most, if not all of the ethnic Chinese community members in the country, are law-abiding Filipino citizens, legitimate business people and conscientious in upholding rule of law,” said federation president Henry Lim Bon Liong.

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The group was reacting to a recent statement by Vice President Leni Robredo, who was appointed by President Duterte as cochair of the Inter-Agency Committee on Anti-Illegal Drugs.

Robredo on Thursday said the government must look into reports that the bulk of illegal drugs smuggled into the Philippines came from China and those arrested were mostly Chinese nationals or Chinese-Filipinos.

Liong, who heads the Sterling Paper Group of Companies, appealed to the media and other sectors “to refrain from generalizing that members of the Chinese-Filipino community as peddlers of illegal drugs and inadvertently besmirching our community’s reputation.”

He said the group supports the drug war, but they believe that “a wholistic anti-illegal drug campaign should include rehabilitation of drug users.”—ROY STEPHEN C. CANIVEL

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