Solon warns of tension in PH labor sector amid influx of foreigners

Published November 30, 2018, 3:31 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Ellson Quismorio

An opposition congressman has expressed concerns that the influx of foreign workers in the country would result in increased tension and slinging of racial slurs in the local labor sector.

Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin

“Ang tingin ko (I think) it will also raise tension with workers, may kumpitensya sila in terms of employment (they compete with each other in terms of employment),” Akbayan Party-List Rep. Tom Villarin told House reporters.

Villarin, a member of the “Magnificent 7+” opposition faction, was commenting on the entry of a massive number of foreigners in the Philippines who end up getting jobs here.

“It is detrimental to Filipino workers…sa ngayon ay (right now) there’s rising underemployment meaning kulang sa patrabaho at sahod (there isn’t enough jobs and the pay is low),” he pointed out.

He fears that things may get violent if the current situation isn’t addressed. “It might turn violent, sana hindi naman (I hope it doesn’t).”

“Hindi rin natin maiiwasan (It is unavoidable) that there [would] be racist slurs that may emanate because of these undocumented Chinese nationals coming into our country in great multitude. Hindi lang naman isang bus ‘yan (They don’t comprise just one bus load),” Villarin said.

He said it has been confirmed that a huge number of foreign nationals who are presumably locally employed stay in big condominiums in the cities of Pasay, Parañaque, Makati.

“We don’t know kung overstaying na ‘yang mga tourist na yan (We don’t know if those tourists are overstaying),” said the Davao-based lawmaker.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported that almost 50 percent of the AEPs or alien employment permits issued to foreign nationals from 2015 to 2017 were given to Chinese nationals.

Meanwhile, research group IBON has claimed there are less jobs available now to Filipinos compared to the start of the Duterte administration.

IBON data released in September showed that the number of employed Filipinos fell from 40.95 million in July 2016 to just 40.67 million in July 2018, or a difference of nearly 300,000.