The arrival of 27,678 Chinese tourists seeking permanent residency in the country as retirees poses a threat to national security, Vice President Leni Robredo said.
Robredo expressed concern over the large number of Chinese entering the Philippines as retirees who are as young as 35 years old.
“Ito, marami na tayong aral sa kasaysayan. Baka ano ito, dangerous sa national security natin. Napakadami na natin. Yun ang isang danger (We have many lessons in history. This could be dangerous to our national security. We are so many. That’s one of the dangers),” she said.
The vice president raised the possibility that the influx of Chinese retirees will affect the employment of Filipinos because they could be now working in Philippine Online Gaming Operations or POGOs.
“Unang una, iyong POGO dapat hindi pinapayagan dito, kasi number one, ilegal nga siya sa China, ilegal siya sa China tapos pinapayagan natin dito (First, the POGO should not be allowed here, because number one, it is illegal in China then we allowed it here),” she said.
“Number two, kung kukuha sila ng trabaho dito, maraming Pilipino ang walang trabaho, makikiagaw pa sila sa mga Pilipino (Number two, if they will apply for a job here, many Filipinos are already unemployed and they will compete with them),” she added.
During last week’s budget hearing of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Senate, Senator Richard Gordon asked the agency to review its policies allowing the entry of young foreign retirees, especially Chinese.
Data from the Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) showed that the Chinese comprise the highest number of foreign retirees, with nearly 28,000 of them in the country.
The Chinese retirees are followed by Koreans at 14,000, and Indians at 6,000.
Robredo questioned why the PRA has been allowing 35-year-old Chinese retirees to enter the country.
“Dapat nasilip na ito sa umpisa pa lang. Eh ano na, four years na iyong administrasyon. Bakit pinapayagan—parang pinalampas na ganito from the start? (This should have been spotted from the start. It has been four years for the administration. Why did we let it slide?),” she said.