Unlike Duterte, Senate bets want to deport illegal Chinese workers

MANILA, Philippines – A majority of senatorial bets advocating for the rights of Filipino laborers support the deportation of illegal Chinese workers.

A total of 8 out of the 11 senatorial bets from the Labor Party Philippines and the Filipino Family Party as well as independent candidates who joined ABS-CBN's third "Harapan 2019" forum on Sunday, March 3, had this stand on the influx of Chinese workers in the Philippines. 

This is contrary to the view of President Rodrigo Duterte himself, who does not support deporting illegal Chinese workers as their number "equals" the number of undocumented Filipino workers in China.

The Philippine consulate-general in Hong Kong earlier estimated that 200,000 Filipinos are working as maids in mainland China, with most of the workers recruited from Hong Kong

The senatorial candidates argued that illegal aliens must be deported. But they also believe Chinese laborers deserve to stay in the Philippines if there are no other "willing, qualified, and able" Filipinos who can take on their jobs. 

Read below the 11 Senate bets' stance on the influx of Chinese workers in the Philippines: 

Jesus Caceres

"Siguro po ang solusyon ng atin pong pamahalaan diyan, dahil no'ng una pang panahon ay lagi nating kapartner sa kalakalan at doon tayo sa Chinese natuto ng maraming negosyo. Siguro pag-usapan nang maigi 'yan ng ating pamahalaan at ng China upang maisayos ang mga dayuhang mga Tsino dito sa ating bansa…. Gamitin ang ating puso sa pag-uusap, hindi padaanin sa giyera."

(I think what the government can do is to keep in mind that the Chinese have long been our partners in business. Perhaps the Philippine and Chinese governments can talk about this issue of foreign workers thoroughly.... We need to use our heart in the talks and not resort to war.)

Melchor Chavez

"Sa tingin ko, ang problema natin ay 'yung technical na mga Chinese na may kakontrata ang ating Pangulo, ang ating gobyerno, na kung saan ay 'yun lang dapat ang mga technical na Chinese na mga [nandito] sa atin. Pero 'yung ang dami-dami na, dapat kasuhan, palayasin dito sa ating bayan. Dahil marami hong manggagawa na kailangan hong magtrabaho, na marunong ding magtrabaho katulad ho sa mga Chinese na 'yan."

(I think our problem has to do with Chinese who have technical capabilities and who hold contracts with our President, our government; they should be the only Chinese workers staying here. But if there are too many of them, they should be sued and kicked out of our country. There are many laborers here who do not have jobs, but have the same capabilities as the Chinese.) 

Charlie Gaddi

"Dapat po nating i-regulate ang pagpasok ng mga Tsino dito sa Pilipinas. Sapagkat nakikita ko, sa dami ng pagpasok ng mga Tsino dito, ang nagdurusa ang ating pong mga manggagawa. Marami po tayong mga manggagawa na walang trabaho. Sa katunayan nga po, ang statistic po natin ngayon ay napakalaki ng unemployment gayun din ang underemployment.... Ang akin pong suggestion, selective: 'Yun pong kailangan laman ng ating bansa ang ating papapasukin dito po sa ating bansa."

(We need to regulate the entry of the Chinese here in the Philippines. I can see that because of the number of Chinese who enter our country, our own laborers suffer. Many of our workers do not have jobs. In truth, our statistics show huge unemployment and underemployment rates.... My suggestion is to be selective: Only those needed by our country should be allowed to enter.)

Emily Mallillin

"Siguro po ang puwede lang ipa-deport sa mga Chinese ay 'yung sukdulan pong maraming mga kasalanan. Mostly po kasi tagapasok ng drugs sa ating lugar ay mostly Tsino po. Siguro po 'yung mga mabibigat na dahilan kung bakit sila puwedeng paalisin ay 'yun lamang po siguro. 'Yung iba naman pong nakakatulong sa ating mga maliliit na manggagawa ay baka po namang puwedeng mag-stay po sila." 

(Maybe the only Chinese we can deport are those who commit high crimes. Most of those who smuggle drugs in our country are Chinese. Perhaps they can be deported only because of serious reasons. But those who can help our ordinary workers can stay.)

Sonny Matula

"Dapat lamang 'yung mga manggagawa ay may protection sa ating bansa, 'yung mga dayuhan o 'yung mga lokal natin na manggagawa. Dapat iproseso ng ating pamahalaan kung ito bang mga Chinese worker na ito ay ilegal dito sa ating bansa. Kung ilegal, so dapat sumunod sila sa ating batas. Dapat hindi sila manatili dito kung ilegal ang kanilang pagtira dito sa ating bansa. Pero, kung ako maging senador, dapat gumawa tayo ng batas na may heavy penalty 'yung mga employer na nag-engage nitong mga illegal na recruit na ito. At dapat mas mabigat ang penalty ng mga employer at recruiter ng mga ilegal na manggagawang ito."

(It is necessary for all workers to have protection in our country, whether they be foreigners or locals. The government should assess whether or not these Chinese workers are illegal. If illegal, they should follow our law. They cannot continue living in our country. But if I become senator, I will draft a law that would impose a heavy penalty on the employers engaging in the illegal recruitment of these people. The penalty for the employer and recruiter of these illegal workers should be heavy.)

Luther Meniano

"Titignan po natin ang implementing rules and regulations ng DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment). Kasi kung nagre-recruit tayo ng mga dayuhan, alamin po natin kung ano ang kailangan, ang limitasyon ng mga manggagawang Pilipino. So for example, Filipino workers 80%, then para sa mga dayuhan we can have 20%…. Pangalawa, kailangan din nating matuunan ng pansin na itong mga alien, kung wala namang kasalanan, 'wag natin i-deport. Pero kung may kasalanan at illegal ang entry nila, 'yan ang tututukan ng ating gobyerno."

(We should look at the implementing rules and regulations of DOLE. If we're recruiting foreigners, we must know the needs and limitations of Filipino laborers. So for example, 80% of the hires should be Filipino workers, then the foreign laborers compose the 20%…. Secondly, do not deport them if they are not working illegally. But if their entry is illegal, then the government must go after them.)

Allan Montaño

"Ipinagbabawal sa batas natin 'yung pag-employ ng mga aliens, unless mayroong permit na in-issue ang Department of Labor and Employment. Ang isang condition diyan, pupuwedeng mag-hire ng mga foreign workers kung walang willing, qualified, and able na Filipno worker. Ngayon, sa issue ng pagdami ng mga Chinese workers, tignan natin, imbestigahan natin bakit sila nakapasok. Ngayon, kung talagang ilegal 'yung pagpasok nila, after silang maproseso, saka natin sila ide-deport.... But again, tignan natin: Baka may nagkasabwatan na employers at taga-Department of Labor [and Employment] or taga Bureau of Immigration sa usapin na ito. So we have to investigate."

(Our law is clear: Employing aliens is illegal, unless there is a permit issued by the Department of Labor and Employment. One condition to hire foreign workers is when there are no willing, qualified, and able Filipino workers available. Now, on the influx of Chinese workers, let us investigate how they were able to enter. If their entry is indeed illegal, after proper processing, they should be deported.... But we must also look at this: There could be collusion between the employers and the Department of Labor and Employment or Bureau of Immigration. So we have to investigate.)

Shariff Albani

"Dapat po bigyan natin ng pansin ang relation po ng China pati ng Philippines. This is more than 600 years' relationship, ang pagkakaibigan ng China and the Philippines. Regarding po sa pagdami ng mga Chinese dito sa atin, titignan natin kung bakit maraming manggagawa dito…. Baka 'yung recruiter nila o kaya mga employer nila, nagpasok dito. Mayroong tinatawag pa, may sabwatan na nangyayari dito."

(We must keep in mind the relationship between China and the Philippines. This is more than 600 years' worth of friendship. Regarding the influx of Chinese workers here, let's look at why their numbers are increasing…. Perhaps their recruiter or their employer helped them enter. There may be collusion here.) 

Gerald Arcega

"Isasabatas po natin 'yan at paninindigan, na wala na, bawal na ang mga Chinese workers dito sa bansa. At kailangan po palakasin po natin ang entrepreneurship ng ating kapwa Pilipino…. Napakarami pong puwedeng pagkunan ng pampondo na puwedeng ipautang sa mga Pinoy."

(We should make a law and stand by a law prohibiting Chinese workers in our country. And there is a need to strengthen entrepreneurship for our fellow Filipinos…. There are many sources of capital that we can loan to Filipinos.)

Marcelino Arias

"'Di ko po alam kung bakit Intsik ang pinag-uusapan natin. Tayo ay mayroong tinatawag na rule of law. Kinakailangang i-apply ang batas natin. Kung tungkol naman sa mga Intsik, sila'y napunta rito, paano sila napunta rito? 'Yan ang dapat na kilanlin. Kaya with all due respect sa Presidente, ayaw i-deport ang mga Intsik sapagkat baka gumanti ang Tsina. Ito ang aking opinyon: Dapat 'yung mga Intsik na ilegal ang pagpasok sa Pilipinas ang isibak. At 'yung mga Pilipino naman na pumasok sa China nang illegal, ibalik sa Pilipinas para pantay-pantay ang batas." 

(I don't know why we're talking about the Chinese here. We have what we call the rule of law. We need to apply our laws. Regarding the Chinese, how were they able to come here? That's what we must determine. With all due respect to the President, he does not want to deport the Chinese because China might retaliate. This is my opinion: The Chinese who illegally entered the Philippines must be deported. And Filipinos who illegally entered China must be brought back to the Philippines, so the law is implemented fairly.) 

Jonathan Baldevarona

"Hindi naman tayo basta-basta nagde-deport. We have to check kung ano ba talaga ang naging violations ng mga 'to.... Pero titignan natin ang mga kapalpakan ng mga ahensiya tungkol dito. Tulad ng Bureau of Immigration tsaka Department of Labor and Employment, dapat titignan natin kung itong mga trabahong ginagawa ng mga Tsino dito sa atin ay hindi kayang gawin ng local na mga workers natin. That's the time na siguro na kailangan din naman natin ng tulong in terms of technology, kaya kailangan din natin silang tanggapin." 

(We can't just deport people. We have to check what the violations were.... Let's also look at the failure of agencies here. The likes of the Bureau of Immigration and the Department of Labor and Employment must determine if what the Chinese workers can do are things that local workers are also capable of doing. Perhaps that's the time that we can accept them, when they can help us in terms of technology.) – Rappler.com 

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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