By Genalyn Kabiling
China will let the Philippines deal with illegal Chinese workers in accordance with local laws, but urged authorities to consider their “humanitarian needs.”
Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua made the statement after assuring the Philippines that China was not encouraging its nationals to work illegally in foreign countries, including the Philippines.
“The policy is very clear. If they are working illegally here, it’s up to you to deal with the issue in accordance with your law. But as we are dealing with the foreign nationals illegally working in China, we also follow our law and procedures,” he said in an interview with reporters at the Palace.
“But in the meantime, we would call on the law enforcement agencies here to deal with this issue professionally, meaning that you have to take into consideration the humanitarian needs of those Chinese nationals, as we are doing exactly when it comes to Filipinos working illegally in China,” he added.
Some groups earlier expressed concern over the alleged influx of Chinese workers in the country, some supposedly do not proper work permits.
Malacañang recently said the government will enforce the country’s laws equally to foreigners including Chinese nationals who violate them. But it would “tread cautiously” in dealing with suspected Chinese illegal migrants in the country given the presence of Filipino workers staying in China, according to Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo.
Zhao, in the media interview at the Palace, made it clear that China does not tolerate Chinese nationals working illegally abroad.
“China has a persistent policy that we don’t encourage, do not allow Chinese working in foreign country illegally as we do not allow foreign national working in China illegally,” he said.
“Whether the Chinese here whether they have legal working permit or not, it’s really something of concern of both sides, Chinese and Philippine sides,” he added.
He admitted that there was a “problem” of Chinese illegal workers in the Philippines, just as there are Filipinos working illegally in China.
“We are handling this in accordance with our respective laws and regulations and also we’re handling this professionally in the spirit of friendship and cooperation,” he added.
The ambassador reiterated that China would not adopt a tit-for-tat strategy on the employment situation.
“I think it’s an obligation of the party concerned, respective countries to carry out their laws and regulations. So I don’t want to put this issue in such a way that we’re doing tit for tat,” he added.