By Genalyn Kabiling
The Philippine government has urged Chinese workers to file formal complaints about any alleged abuse from local employers, assuring it will not tolerate the violation of their rights.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the government would enforce the laws against those who violate the rights of foreign workers in the country.
Panelo made the assurance after the embassy of China in Manila called on the Philippine government to punish local casinos and offshore gaming firms that allegedly illegally employ its nationals. China’s embassy has reportedly described such illegal employment of Chinese nationals as a form of “modern slavery” amid reports some suffer physical abuse, torture and extortion.
“My suggestion then is they should file formal complaint, so that this particular concern will be raised in the appropriate agencies of the government so we can properly respond,” Panelo said during a Palace press briefing.
“We will not allow any violation of their rights as visitors or working nationals in this country. We certainly have the Constitution to guide government authorities in dealing with them,” he said.
He maintained that the government “cannot do anything” unless an official complaint is filed on alleged abuses committed against Chinese visitors. The complaint, he said, must include names, dates, and situations of instance of alleged rights violation of the foreign workers.
“We will not allow any abuse on any foreign visitor or worker in this country from our own countrymen – we have laws. We have always enforced the law,” he added.
The government, meantime, may deport Chinese workers found illegally working in the country, according to Panelo.
He assured though that these undocumented foreign workers would still be given due process.
“Kapag malaman natin na illegal bakit hindi. Siyempre mayroong process ‘yon, may due process pa rin kahit papaano [If we find out they are illegals, why not. But of course, there will be due process],” he said in a later phone interview with reporters when asked if the illegal Chinese workers will be deported back to their home country.
“Kung mayroong illegal dito, then due process will have to take its course. Meaning to say, iimbestigahan, bibgyan silang ipresent yong kanilang side. And if they violated the laws, then kung anong sinsasabi ng batas, yon ang gagawin natin [If there are illegals here, then due process will have to take its course. Meaning to say, there will be an investigation. They will be asked to present their side. And if they violated the laws, then we’ll enforce our laws],” he said.