Sen. Leila de Lima slams Ramon Tulfo for branding Filipino workers as lazy slowpokes

By Hannah Torregoza

Ramon Tulfo, special envoy to China, should resign from his post if he cannot stop insulting Filipino laborers in his justification of the hiring of Chinese workers in the Philippines, so said Senator Leila de Lima.

De Lima, who is currently detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP), was referring to Tulfo’s oppressive and offensive language when he branded Filipino laborers as inefficient and slowpokes.

FACING ARREST – Senator Leila de Lima is in fighting form in this photo taken at a press conference in the Senate last Tuesday. A regional trial court on Thursday ordered her arrest. (Jansen Romero | Manila Bulletin)

The senator also slammed Malacañang for defending him as a public official entitled to his own opinion instead of firing him on the spot.

“This is the usual response of Malacañang to insults and offensive remarks of Duterte copycats in government,” de Lima said in her latest statement.

“These Duterte wannabes may be entitled to their own opinions. But as long as they are being paid by Filipino taxpayers, they have no right insulting Filipinos,” she pointed out.

“If Mon Tulfo cannot stop insulting Filipinos or apologize for his offensive and baseless remarks against them, he should just resign. Otherwise, he would just be another free-loader with nothing to show for his plum government position,” said the senator.

Tulfo drew flak after defending the influx of Chinese workers in the country in a televised interview over CNN Philippines “On the Record” claiming that Chinese workers are “better than Filipino workers.”

A group of construction workers challenged Tulfo to spend three days at a work site when they called him out for his comments.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III also disagreed with Tulfo’s opinion saying Filipino workers “are the best in the world in terms of competence, trustworthiness and diligence.”

De Lima said that when the Filipinos made then Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte as President, one should expect that more people like him who “behave like neighborhood bullies, and talk like drunkards” would be in government.

“That the Duterte officialdom is full of bullies predisposed to ‘usapang lasing’ or drunken talk was again exemplified by Mon Tulfo when he said that Filipino construction workers are lazy and do nothing but smoke cigarettes on the job,” de Lima said.

“Mon Tulfo might have been drunk with alcohol when he said this, but definitely he is now drunk with power for his own good,” added the senator.

“Such hubris can only come from someone who does not realize that he owes his power to the same people he ridicules as good-for-nothing slobs. After all, Mon Tulfo has yet to prove himself in government as Special Envoy to China, and that he is nothing like the slackers and sloths he makes out the Filipinos to be,” she pointed out.

Had Tulfo made such comments as a columnist, she could just have let his statement pass. But the former journalist, she said, is now a public official.

“After all, we were already used to his blunt language as an opinionated observer who specialized in anecdotal wisdom,” she said.

“But this is already Mon Tulfo the Special Envoy to China, talking. This is already the public official, who draws his salary from government funds, funds that come from taxes paid by the same workers he attacks and vilifies as lazy,” added the senator.

“Like most Duterte officials who were appointed more for reasons of their sycophancy than their competence, Mon Tulfo has a problem distinguishing between his private persona and his public position. He forgets that he is no longer a columnist,” added the lawmaker.

Unfortunately, she said Tulfo also forgets that being Special Envoy to China means advancing Filipino interests, and not defending the Chinese takeover of Philippine jobs.

“The Filipino workers should stop paying Tulfo’s salary. Instead, China should be given the option of retaining him as its alternate spokesperson, second only to Duterte himself,” de Lima said.