SENATE MINORITY Leader Franklin M. Drilon flagged the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) over the growing number of Chinese nationals working in the Philippines in a budget hearing for the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) on Wednesday.
The opposition senator said Filipinos are being deprived of jobs that Chinese nationals have already filled in the online gaming industry.
“Philippines is known to be the biggest provider of outsourcing skills. Why are we allowing these foreign nationals to be here on an employment permit doing work that can be done by Filipinos?” he said.
Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said the agency has issued an estimated 40,000 Alien Employment permits (AEPs) to foreign workers for the past two years, more than half or 25,000 of these permits given to Chinese nationals.
He also said most Chinese workers are involved in the online gaming business.
An AEP is a document issued by the DoLE-Bureau of Local Employment authorizing foreigners to work in the Philippines. The permit is valid for one year or co-terminous with the duration of the employment but shall not exceed five years.
It should be established that the skill required for the job could not be supplied by a Filipino worker before giving such permits, Mr. Bello said.
But Mr. Drilon said he believed the AEP figures were too low, as he noted the considerable presence of Chinese nationals in business districts.
“You know, the rumor I get in the industry, in Metro Manila alone, there are 400,000,” he said.
“Your 40,000 is either obviously not accurate, understated, or there are 10 times more roaming around working without working permits,” the senator added.
In response, Mr. Bello said, “I will look into the AEPs issued by our regional director and see to it that they comply with the condition that they will only give to foreigners if there are no Filipinos available to do job.” — Camille A. Aguinaldo