PH to address illegal Chinese workers’ entry: envoy
By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana said concerned Philippine agencies are currently working to address the issue of illegal Chinese workers in the country.
In a press briefing in Beijing on Wednesday, Sta. Romana said he has met with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to discuss the problem.
“So, there is a problem that has to be solved. I just had a discussion with Secretary Bello. I just came from that meeting and he said we have to do something,” the envoy said.
“If it’s illegal, you have to crack down on what’s illegal. If there are loopholes, you have to plug the loopholes,” he added.
Sta. Romana said the Philippine government is encouraging foreigners to come to the country as tourists.
“We are encouraging tourism right now, so we issue tourist visas here. But they are stamped not for employment,” he said.
While the government encourages more Chinese tourists to visit the Philippines, Sta. Romana said a monitoring system should be established.
The Chinese market remains the fastest-growing population of tourists in the country, reaching almost one million visitors in 2018.
This may be attributed to the relaxed visa policy for Chinese citizens.
“Secretary Bello was explaining that they have to basically monitor those who are getting work permits. It has to do with the issue of work permits,” he said.
Sta. Romana said concerned government agencies continue to work towards strengthening policies and mechanisms to identify those posing as tourists but end up working with permits in the country.
“This is something we’re trying to work out. Without sacrificing the progress, we want to achieve in tourism, it’s how to avoid illegal or extended presence,” he noted. (PNA)