Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has called Mr. Duterte’s obvious tolerance of the influx of illegal Chinese workers in the country as an act of cowardice in dealing with China.
De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, said that allowing illegal Chinese nationals to work in the country means a breakdown in the enforcement of Philippine laws against illegal foreign workers.
“Duterte’s pronouncement to allow illegal Chinese workers in the Philippines once again demonstrates the President’s cowardice when it comes to dealing with China. He justifies this with the lame excuse that China might retaliate against Filipinos working in China,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 474.
“If we allow illegal Chinese workers, we might as well allow all other foreigners working illegally in the Philippines,” she added.
Mr. Duterte, who has always shown fondness to China, recently said he is in favor of allowing Chinese workers in the country, maintaining that their deportation might affect the number of undocumented Filipino workers in China.
“Yung mga Chinese dito, hayaan mo ‘yan na dito magtrabaho. Hayaan mo. Bakit? We have 300,000 Filipinos in China kaya hindi ako makasabi, ‘Oh, umalis kayo dito. Deport ka doon,” he said.
The former justice secretary has found suspicious Mr. Duterte’s extraordinary accommodation of Chinese interests, which shows signs that the President is indebted to China.
“He has practically surrendered the West Philippine Sea to China. He has basically given China a monopoly in Philippine infrastructure projects,” she recalled.
“He has barely raised a concern to the continued entry into the country of tons of ‘shabu from China. He has promoted the influx of Chinese nationals to work in the Philippines, and now has welcomed even those who work here illegally,” she added.
De Lima asked: “Ano kaya ba talaga ang hawak ng Tsina kay Duterte? Ano kaya ang alam nito tungkol sa kanya?”
As a President, the lady Senator from Bicol reminded Mr. Duterte that he is constitutionally mandated to enforce Philippine laws, which include laws on foreign immigrant workers.
“That Duterte cannot do this when it comes to Chinese illegal workers only reinforces the perception that he is nothing more than a puppet of China. Whatever China has on Duterte, to be able to hold him firmly by the neck while we are gradually turned into a Chinese vassal state, is definitely working to its advantage,” she said.
De Lima said the Filipino public must resist and continue to fight against the creeping Chinese invasion and its gradual take-over of the sectors of the Philippine economy that are vital to the country’s national security and sovereignty. Last year, De Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 751 pressing for a Senate inquiry into the influx of Chinese nationals employed and residing in the Philippines which, among others, steals jobs away from ordinary Filipinos.