By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo urged the government to be “firm” in its policy against the entry of all illegal foreign workers in the Philippines.
Robredo, the leader of the opposition, was asked to react to reports of Chinese nationals being allowed to work in the construction industry.
“Iyong sa akin hindi lang iyong construction workers pero iyong pagpasok ng iligal—iyong illegal iyong stay (For me, it’s not only about the construction workers, but also the illegal entry),” Robredo said.
“Kung ang sadya dito sa atin, trabaho, eh ‘di kumuha ng maayos na visa para nare-regulate ng pamahalaan. Pero para iyong pamahalaan mismo iyong mag-tolerate, tingin ko mali iyon,” she pointed out.
(If their intention here is to get jobs, they should apply for proper visa so the government could regulate them. But for the government to tolerate this, I think that’s wrong.)
The Vice President again spoke out against the entry of illegal foreign workers in the wake of concerns that there were too many Chinese workers in the Philippines.
In Palawan, she earlier called the attention of administration for the presence of the 260 Chinese workers who were brought into the country without proper working visas.
They were reportedly hired to work for a gambling firm suspected to be behind an illegal online gambling operation.
Robredo said Filipinos should be the priority of the government than foreign workers for the available jobs.
“Kasi halimbawa, pagbigay, pagbibigay ng working visa, kailangan titingnan niyan, wala bang Pilipinong, parang, mawawalan ng pagkakataon na magtrabaho dahil sa kanila,” she stressed.
(For example, in granting working visa, it has to be checked whether Filipinos would lose the chance to work because of them.)
“Kasi iyong proteksyon din at saka welfare ng bawat Pilipino, iyon dapat iyong sinasaisip (Because the protection and welfare of each Filipino, we should put that in mind.)
Robredo said she had no problems maintaining close relations with China, but expressed concern it may be at the expense of Filipinos.
“They enter the Philippines because gambling is prohibited in China. So what’s illegal in China, they will do here? So the morals and livelihood of every Filipino are being endangered,” she said in Filipino.
“I see no problem with the enhanced friendship with China. Because I think, that is beneficial to us, but not to the detriment of ordinary Filipinos,” Robredo added.