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Over 500k Chinese nationals entered PHL starting December

More than 500,000 Chinese nationals have entered the country since December amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) threat.

In Nimfa Ravelo's Thursday report on Super Radyo dzBB, Senator Richard Gordon said a total of 536,205 Chinese nationals entered the country from December 1 to February 20.

Of the number, about 4,850 came from Wuhan City -- the ground-zero of the virus -- while others came from neighboring areas in Hubei Province.



According to the report, around 156,000 Chinse nationals carried alien employment permits, around 115,000 had special work permits, while around 77,000 had prearrangement employment visas.

Information from the Bureau of Customs also revealed that some of the Chinese nationals were carrying millions of dollars in cold cash.

The cash declared by the Chinese nationals totaled up to 188 million dollars, based on data from the bureau.

Chinese nationals said the money will be used for gambling, touring, or shopping.

The visitors were not barred from entering the country as the amount was declared and there is no law in the Philippines prohibiting the carrying of money, according to the report.

Gordon, meanwhile, said the large amount could be used for money laundering and the proliferation of crime in the country.

The senator added that he will call for a hearing on the issue as the Chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

The Senate Committee on Women, meanwhile, will conduct an investigation on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO).

Meanwhile, the Labor Committee will conduct another investigation on illegal Chinese workers in the country as well as the alleged tax evasion of POGO and POGO workers.

The Bureau of Immigration has recently come under fire for the alleged "pastillas" scheme, in which Chinese Nationals were allowed entry in the country without going through the proper immigration process in exchange for money. — Joahna Lei Casilao/BAP, GMA News