Labor official believes crackdown on illegal foreign workers not adverse to OFWs

Published April 4, 2019, 8:39 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Analou De Vera

An official of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) believes that the ongoing crackdown against illegal foreign workers in the country will not have any negative effects on overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Labor Assistant Secretary Benjo Benavidez (TWITTER / MANILA BULLETIN)
Labor Assistant Secretary Benjo Benavidez (TWITTER / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a television interview on Thursday, Labor Assistant Secretary Benjo Benavidez expressed confidence that there will be no adverse effects on OFWs, with the Philippine government now conducting investigations and crafting measures to regulate the employment of foreign workers in the country.

“I think it won’t because we are just doing our mandate. We, at the Executive [Department], we just implement and enforce laws,” said Benavidez.

“If we enforce a law, we enforce it regardless of their nationalities,” he added.

Recently, the Senate looked into the influx of foreign workers in the country, particularly on Chinese nationals.

Meanwhile, Benavidez said that the labor department found out that the Chinese workers employed at a site in Ermita, Manila do not have necessary work permits.

“We were able to find that some of them are actually construction workers but they are not holders of Alien Employment Permit. Well, pag nag-apply po talaga sila ng AEP as a construction worker [even if they did apply for AEP], we will definitely deny that,” he said.

“What we found out, they are holders of Special Work Permit,” he added.

The official said that the issue concerns the DOLE as it takes away employment opportunities intended for Filipinos.

“Of course. This job should have been for the Filipinos in the first place,” said Benavidez.

Benavidez said that the DOLE already endorsed the cases of the said Chinese workers to the Bureau of Immigration.

“The [labor] department does not have the power to deport them,” he said.