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Nancy Binay wants total ban on Chinese construction workers in PHL

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Senator Nancy Binay on Sunday called for a total ban on the entry of Chinese laborers and construction workers into the Philippines, saying that Filipino workers are losing employment opportunities to them.

"Ang panawagan ay total ban sa pagpasok ng mga Chinese laborer at construction workers. Our duty is to protect our own workers and provide job security for them — but sadly, we're opening our labor market to non-Filipinos," she said in an emailed statement.

There has been a recent surge in the entry of Chinese laborers into the Philippines, with the Department of Labor and Employement (DOLE) issuing 25,000 Alien Employment permits to Chinese in the last two years, over half the total 40,000 permits.

The DOLE downplayed this in February when Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said that Chinese nationals who hold working permits in the country are just filling vacancies for jobs that Filipinos cannot or would not do.

National Confederation of Labor (NCL) president and senatorial aspirant Ernesto Arellano disagreed with this, saying that there have been administrative lapses that have driven the surge of Chinese laborers into the country.

Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte said he cannot simply deport Chinese workers in the country, as he is looking out for some 300,000 Filipinos in China.

"Kawawa naman tayo. Yung mga trabaho na dapat para sa mga kababayan natin eh napupunta lang sa ibang lahi," said Binay.

"Government agencies are expected to protect the interest of Filipinos, dapat malinaw yan. Besides, ipinagbabawal na mag-issue ng special working permits sa construction workers pero may nakakalusot," she added.

Binay also cautioned that the government should prioritize Filipino workers, especially given the "Jobs, Jobs, Jobs" portal where some 11,000 job opportunities were made available to the public.

"The promise would not be fulfilled if preferential treatment were showed to foreign workers because of conditionalities inserted in official development assistance loans," said Binay. — Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/BM, GMA News

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