By Leslie Ann Aquino
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines on Tuesday welcomed Chinese workers in the country and even advised them to legalize their stay here.
“We have been telling them to legalize their stay, follow and respect our laws particularly the Alien Employment Permit so that they can also be protected by our labor laws and regulations from abusive employers and businesses and afford the same labor rights and privileges Filipino workers enjoys under our existing laws and customs,” TUCP President Raymond Mendoza said in a statement.
Data from the Labor department’s Bureau of Local Employment revealed that from 2015 to 2017 only 115,652 foreign nationals were issued with AEP. Majority of those issued with AEP or 51,980 are Chinese.
An AEP is one of the requirements for the issuance of a work visa to foreigners, who intend to engage in gainful employment in the Philippines.
An AEP is issued once it is ascertained that a foreign worker will be performing a job that local workers are not capable of doing.
The group also urged said workers to organize and form themselves into unions so that they will have security of tenure, ensured wages and benefits, and guaranteed social protection insurance.
TUCP said they also welcome prospective Chinese capitalists and business who wants to come in and do business here.
This, the group said is as long as they follow, respect and comply with business and labor laws.
“As long as they respect us, respect our culture and traditions, respect our laws and regulations, the TUCP welcomes the good diversity they bring in, said Mendoza.
Meanwhile, the Kilusang Mayo Uno labor center said while it is strongly opposed with the Duterte government’s collaboration with Chinese bureaucrat capitalists that exploit both Chinese workers straight from mainland China and Filipino workers, it extends a hand to the foreign workers that have entered the country.
“Whether Chinese or Filipino, we know that workers are highly vulnerable to exploitation, and without a union or other workers’ support, their rights are often neglected or violated to extreme degrees,” Elizar Diayon, KMU vice chairperson for external and political affairs, said in a statement.
“By allowing big Chinese capitalists to enter the economy, the Philippine and Chinese governments put these hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers at risk, rendering them vulnerable to precarious work conditions as well as other labor abuses. We seriously doubt that the Chinese workers are being closely monitored by either DOLE or its counterpart unit in the Chinese government and its embassy in the Philippines,” he added
“The core reason for our protest against the proliferation of operations funded by Chinese bureaucrat capitalists is that the interests of Filipino workers and people are compromised in many ways,” said Diayon.