LOCAL labor group General Alliance of Workers Associations (Gawa) is alarmed over the alleged "exodus" of Chinese workers in the Philippines as it deprives Filipino workers of the employment opportunities, its top official said.
Wennie Sancho, secretary-general of Gawa, said on November 27 that they are calling concerned government agencies to crackdown these foreign-workers not only in Metro Manila but also in Western Visayas.
Sancho said there are over 119,000 Chinese workers who were given an alien working permit since 2015 based on the data of Department of Labor and Employment (Dole).
Sancho said they were also given a special working permit by the Bureau of Immigration.
“It worries us labor group in the province. It is disadvantageous to the Filipino workers,” Sancho said, adding that “supposed to be these works are being given to the Filipinos.”
The labor leader also said that the Constitution provided that the state shall uphold protection to labor and Filipinos should be given priority.
“What is happening now, the Filipinos are being deprived of their works because it was given to Chinese workers,” Sancho added.
He also cited reports from the Philippine Statistics Authority that show some 9.8 million Filipinos are jobless as of September 2018.
Gawa called on other organized labor groups in the province to unite in urging the government to act on this issue.
Its secretary-general said they are writing Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to express their manifestation that “the government should address this crucial problem because it is grossly disadvantageous to the interest of the workers.”
Bello earlier said they will reinforce their inspections at workplaces in a bid to find illegal alien workers.
“Dole is bothered by the report of increasing number of foreign workers in the country,” he said, adding their records reveal that there are only over 115,000 foreigners who have been issued AEPs.
“Whether it is true or not, the only thing we are certain is that there are only around 115,000 foreign workers with AEPs issued by Dole regional directors,” Bello said.
Based on the latest data of the Bureau of Local Employment, there are 115,652 foreign nationals who were issued with AEP for a three-year period covering 2015 to 2017.
Most of those with AEPs are Chinese with 51,980, followed by 12,177 Japanese, and 11,780 Koreans.
Bello noted that aside from Dole, other permit-issuing agencies that allow foreign nationals to work in the country are the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for geoscience and mining industry; Professional Regulation Commission for the practice of regulated professions; Department of Justice for nationalized or partially nationalized industries; and Bureau of Immigration for the pre-arranged employment visa or 9G. (With reports from SunStar Philippines)