Ang See: Why further tighten visa requirements for Chinese nationals?

Civic leader Teresita Ang See has questioned the further tightening of visa requirements for Chinese nationals, which the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) made amid the increasing number of fraudulent applications it is receiving.

In a statement, Ang See said that strict visa requirements for Chinese is not new, so she asked: "Why play it up now?"

Ang See is a social activist who co-founded the Kaisa Para Sa Kaunlaran, a movement working for the full integration of the Chinese-Filipino community.

For her, further tightening the visa application process "will not solve any problems" that Philippine government agencies uncovered, which included fraudulent applications and the rise of criminal activities from Chinese-linked Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).

"On the contrary, this will drive away legitimate tourists, investors, students, teachers and professionals (including agricultural engineers, doctors and technicians) from coming," she said as she believed that "the problems actually lie with our bureaucrats here at home."

On May 9, DFA announced that the Philippine government is making the move, which is aimed at countering the increasing number of fraudulent applications the Philippine embassy and consulates are receiving.

"It is not related to national security issues," said DFA Undersecretary Jesus Domingo in a press conference as he clarified that it is not about the country's ongoing tension with China in the West Philippine Sea.

The country's action will be good also for Chinese nationals because they are the victims of their fellows in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator's (POGO)-related crimes, Domingo added.

To address POGO-related crimes, Ang See said her group already pushed for the total banning of POGOs in the country during a Senate hearing. But she lamented that "our government has taken no action, even after China has requested that we totally stop POGO operations."

She also opposed claims that Chinese spies are posing as students in the country, which she called as "a deliberate move to fan and hype the anti-China narrative."

"These days rumor mongers put forth a new fantasy tale of a China invasion... What invasion," she asked.

Ang See believed that the right thing to do, instead of just further stricting visa requirements for Chinese nationals, is to "shut down the loopholes and corruption in our government here at home."

"Fix what’s broken: our own agencies have failed to stop the entry of illegal aliens and POGO workers and stop POGO operations all together," she added.