“We wish to clarify that the President’s policy on Chinese workers who are illegally staying in the country remains the same, which is the enforcement of immigration laws against violators,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
This is after President Rodrigo Duerte said on February 23, “iyong mga Chinese dito hayaan mo ‘yan na dito magtrabaho. Hayaan mo. Bakit? We have 300,000 Filipinos in China.”
“Our laws will be applied with full force and effect equally to all foreign nationals who violate them,” Panelo added.
However, Panelo said enforcement of the immigration laws doesn’t mean that we shall act recklessly on perceived violations of Chinese citizens. “To do so would be a dangerous policy as we have, as the President stressed in his campaign rally speech, thousands of Filipinos in China and its government might enforce a policy of tit for tat to the detriment of our countrymen in China.”
“Chinese workers who have working permits and compliant with immigration rules and do not violate the laws of the land will be accorded the protection they are entitled to,” he said.
“Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua had the occasion to state during his recent courtesy call with the President, that in the same way that the Chinese government enforces China’s laws against foreign nationals including Filipinos who violate them, so do Philippine laws will be enforced against foreign citizens including Chinese nationals who transgress them,” Panelo added.
“The Government will tread cautiously and in accordance with the Constitution in dealing with any matter involving Chinese migrants perceived or alleged to be staying illegally, given the situation of thousands of Filipinos staying in China not in accordance with its laws,” he explained.