By Genalyn Kabiling
The government will enforce the country’s laws equally on foreigners, including Chinese nationals, who violate them, Malacañang assured Monday.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, however, said they would “tread cautiously” in dealing with suspected Chinese illegal migrants in the country given the presence of Filipino workers staying in China.
“We wish to clarify that the President’s policy on Chinese workers who are illegally staying in the country remains the same, which is the enforcement of immigration laws against violators,” he said.
“Our laws will be applied with full force and effect equally to all foreign nationals who violate them,” he said.
Panelo said Chinese workers who have working permits and do not violate the laws of the land would be accorded the protection they are entitled to.
“Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua had the occasion to state during his recent courtesy call with the President, that in the same way that the Chinese government enforces China’s laws against foreign nationals, including Filipinos who violate them, so do Philippine laws will be enforced against foreign citizens, including Chinese nationals who transgress them,” he said.
President Duterte recently said Chinese workers should be allowed to remain in the country since deporting them might endanger the livelihood of Filipinos working in China.
The Palace had earlier said there was nothing to worry about the entry of Chinese workers as long as they comply with the country’s laws.
In the same statement, Panelo, however, made clear that the enforcement of the immigration laws did not mean the government would “act recklessly” on alleged violations of Chinese citizens.
“To do so would be a dangerous policy as we have, as the President stressed in his campaign rally speech, thousands of Filipinos in China and its government might enforce a policy of tit for tat to the detriment of our countrymen in China,” he said.
“The government will tread cautiously and in accordance with the Constitution in dealing with any matter involving Chinese migrants perceived or alleged to be staying illegally, given the situation of thousands of Filipinos staying in China not in accordance with its laws,” he added.
He maintained that the plight of overseas Filipino workers remain foremost in the President’s mind.
“Any problem, however, that may arise involving the entry and/or stay of Chinese citizens in blatant violation of our immigration laws will be dealt with strictly in accordance with law and with dispatch,” he said.