By Tracy Cabrera
Following a crackdown by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corpration (Pagcor) against illegal online gaming operators, Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval disclosed that online gaming is one of the main factors that has contributed to the influx of Chinese workers in the country.
At the Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum at the Café Adriatico in Malate, Manila, Pagcor chairperson Andrea Domingo revealed that some 170 establishments operating without licenses were raided in line with the crackdown during the first semester of the year and she issued a stern warning to all offshore gaming operators to shape up or face the consequences.
According to Sandoval, they noticed the recent spike of Chinese workers in the country in 2017 with a record of about 22,599 of them holding working visas.
“We noticed the increase of Chinese nationals working in the Philippines. Online gaming—isa po ito sa mga factors why tumaas po itong bilang ng mga Chinese na nagtatrabaho dito,” she pointed out.
The spokesperson was referring to Chinese nationals working for online gambling or for the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO).
Foreigners are only allowed to work in the Philippines for a certain period after the grant of a work visa. They are not allowed, however, to do certain kinds of work that are only for Filipinos.
“They cannot apply for a working visa if they are foreign construction workers, unless they are technical experts, because this kind of job is only for Filipinos,” Sandoval added.
In this connection, the Senate has launched a probe into the rise of illegal Chinese workers in the Philippines to check whether or not these foreigners are taking over jobs that could have been for Filipinos.
Labor officials, meanwhile, told the Senate inquiry that some 50,000 of the 115,000 alien employment permits issued from 2015 to 2017 went to Chinese nationals.
President Rodrigo Duterte reacted to this by saying there is no question that illegal Chinese workers “should be deported.”
However, the president also noted that the government “should be careful” in making such decision because thousands of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) might suffer Chinese retaliation.
“They should be deported . . . but in the same manner, (we) should be careful because when (we) point to the Chinese (we) also point (ourself).
There are so many thousands of Filipinos working there or went inside China as tourists and working there,” the chief executive underscored.