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Palace questions Noynoy’s views on surge of Chinese workers in PHL: What's your basis?

Malacañang on Thursday dismissed former President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III’s concern over the surge of Chinese workers in the country.

Aquino, at a book launch on Tuesday, said  he was told by businessmen that there were too many Chinese workers in the Philippines, especially in the construction industry.

The former president then raised the issue about Chinese workers taking over jobs that should have been for Filipinos.

Reacting to Aquino’s claims, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said: “If he is concerned, we will also be concerned if his basis is correct.”

“What was his basis? Was it statistics made by him or his group? Where did he get that information?” Panelo said at a news conference.

Panelo also justified the presence of Chinese workers, saying the country lacks local skilled workers like carpenters and welders because many have gone abroad to seek better opportunities.

Last December, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III allayed concerns that Filipinos may be losing out on job opportunities due to the continued influx of Chinese workers in the country.

Bello said there is “no rampant” case of jobs reserved for Filipinos that ended up with foreigners.

Under labor rules, the government can only issue an alien employment permit (AEP) if a foreign national is going to do a job or a service that cannot be performed by a Filipino.

In a Senate hearing in November last year, Labor and Immigration officials revealed that the bulk of foreign nationals that obtained work permits in the country are Chinese individuals who work in online gaming as language interpreters.

The officials also said that many of the Chinese come to the country on tourist visas, then later secure special work permits (SWPs) for three- to six-month work AEPs for longer employment in the Philippines.

Duterte’s conciliatory relations with China, despite the South China Sea disputes, have increased trade and investment opportunities for the two countries. — MDM, GMA News