De Lima wants Senate probe on influx of Chinese nationals in PH
Opposition Senator Leila de Lima on Sunday said she has a filed resolution urging the Senate to probe the influx of Chinese nationals working in the Philippines.
De Lima said Chinese nationals who move into the country not only steal jobs from ordinary Filipinos but also trigger a surge in property prices in commercial areas.
“With the influx of Chinese nationals employed and residing in the Philippines, there is a dangerous possibility of the real estate market pricing out Filipinos out of their homes, especially in areas near businesses that heavily employs Chinese nationals, like casinos and resorts,” De Lima said in a statement.
The detained senator wants the Senate to see if the government can properly enforce immigration and labor laws.
“The increasingly lax control mechanisms over the influx of Chinese nationals in the Philippines have led to concerns on whether we have enough capability to properly enforce our immigration and labor laws to the detriment of our national interest,” she said.
De Lima cited a 33.4 percent increase – from 28,371 in 2015 to 41,993 in 2016 – in the Alien Employment Permit (AEP) granted to foreign nationals who intend to work in the Philippines.
She also cited reports that of the 1,508 foreigners deported in 2017 by immigration authorities, 1,248 were Chinese nationals, some of whom were arrested for involvement in illegal online gaming operations in Clark, Pampanga.
According to De Lima, about 200,000 mostly Chinese workers have arrived in the country since late 2016 after President Rodrigo Duterte awarded licenses to more than 50 offshore gambling companies that cater to overseas Chinese gamblers.
“The surge of AEP issuance means there is a number of available jobs in the Philippines, even while Filipinos continue to seek opportunities abroad and unemployment remains a concern,” she said.
She urged a review of the government’s capability to enforce immigration and labor policies and discontinue those that are detrimental to national interest.
“There is also the danger of our economy being too dependent on Chinese tourists and clients where any change in policies by the China government could effectively stall, if not cripple, our local economy,” she added. /ee
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