By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang said the government will send illegal Chinese workers in the Philippines back to their country, stressing President Duterte’s policy to implement the law and prosecute those who break them.
A Senate inquiry revealed that Bureau of Immigration (BI) officials were involved in the so-called “pastillas scheme” where they receive bribes from Chinese nationals who enter the country to illegally work in the Philippines.
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros said that some Chinese nationals first enter the Philippines as tourists and later work in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) hubs after paying immigration personnel and Chinese and Filipino travel agencies P10,000 rolled in a bond paper.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said those who entered the country illegally will be sent back to China.
“Basta yung mga illegal, papabalikin natin sa pinanggalingan nila (We will send those who came here illegally back to where they came from),” he said.
“Basta may illegal na ginawa, ang Presidente natin palaging ipatupad ang batas (As long as they did anything illegal, the President will make sure that they will answer to the law),” he added.
The modus was uncovered while the Senate was investigating the sex trafficking and prostitution that ran alongside POGOs whose employees are mostly Chinese.
In a Senate hearing this week, Immigration Officer Allison Chiong revealed that majority of his colleagues at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) were in on the scheme, and only 10 percent were not.
On Thursday, President Duterte relieved all Immigration officials and employees involved in the bribery scheme after receiving reports and evidence of the act.
According to Panelo, Duterte considered the scheme as a “grave form of corruption.”