Palace not alarmed by influx of Chinese workers if their entry is legal
Malacanang said on Thursday the influx of Chinese workers should not be a cause for alarm if the foreigners legally enter the country.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement after former President Benigno Aquino III raised the observation of many businessmen there are many Chinese nationals working in the Philippines, particularly in the construction industry.
He has said these Chinese workers were taking the jobs which should be for Filipinos.
"If they came (Chinese workers) here through lawful means, then I am not alarmed. I will be alarmed if they are here because they violated the law," Panelo said in a press briefing.
The spokesman even asked Aquino for his basis of saying many Chinese workers are in the country.
"What was his basis? Was it statistics made by him or his group? Where did he get that information?" he said.
But Panelo noted there seemed to be a shortage of construction workers in the country.
"The other day we were talking with the President. In fact, that was I think the first night of the wake of the late Henry Sy Sr., and the family, especially Big Boy Sy, was I think mentioning about their construction... (It) is delayed because we lack carpenters, welders, in other words, construction workers," he said.
Thus, Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to train more Filipinos for the construction industry.
"We lack so many construction workers. Maybe that is why there are many Chinese being hired because of lack of Filipino (workers). Many Filipinos have no jobs and yet, they lack the skill so we need to teach them," he said.
Citing his personal experience, Panelo said when he was looking for a carpenter, it took him six months before he could get one.
He said he was not able to get a welder to repair their gate.
As to the observation of Aquino that the Duterte administration has been shelving the arbitral ruling on the South China Sea, Panelo said it was not true.
"He’s (Duterte) not shelving the arbitral ruling. What he said is that 'it's impractical for now since, first, we cannot enforce it, nobody wants to enforce it,' so rather than fighting - if China can help us on trade relations and other aspects - let's help each other first," he said.
But he said Duterte promised before he steps down from office, he would bring up the arbitral ruling with China.
The United Nations Arbitral Tribunal has invalidated China's sovereign and historic claim over the entire South China Sea after the Aquino administration questioned it. Celerina Monte/DMS