The Chinese government would not condone its nationals working illegally in the Philippines or any other foreign country, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said on Monday.
Zhao made this assurance following concerns raised by critics of the Duterte administration that Chinese workers were allowed to work in the country even without complying with immigration laws.
“China has persistent policy that we do not encourage and do not allow Chinese working in a foreign country illegally,” Zhao said in an interview with Palace reporters.
Zhao said it is up to the Philippine government to deal with Chinese nationals working illegally in the country.
“The policy is very clear. If they are working illegally here, it’s up to you to deal with the issue in accordance with your law,” Zhao said.
He assured that Chinese government is strict in enforcing its own laws and procedures in relation to Filipinos and other foreign nationals working in their country.
“There’s a problem of Chinese working illegally here but also there are Filipinos working illegally in China,” Zhao said.
“We are handling this in accordance with our respective laws and regulations. We are handling it professionally in the spirit of our friendship and cooperation,” he added.
However, Zhao appealed to the Philippine government to consider the humanitarian needs of illegal Chinese workers in the Philippines the same way it deals with illegal Filipino workers in China.
“We would also call on the law enforcement agencies here to deal with this issue professionally. You have to take into consideration the humanitarian needs of those Chinese nationals as we are doing exactly when it comes to Filipinos working illegally in China,” Zhao said.
The Chinese envoy was in Malacañang on Monday afternoon to meet Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo in a courtesy call.
During their 50-minute meeting, Panelo and Zhao discussed areas of mutual concern and agreed to promote better understanding between the two countries.
“Ambassador Zhao gave assurances that his government does not consent to any illegal entry or employment of its citizens in the country,” Panelo said.
In February, Panelo said government will apply immigration laws with “full force” against illegal Chinese workers in the Philippines.
Panelo, meanwhile, said Zhao also called for cooperation in monitoring the possible exploitation of Chinese citizens in illegal gambling operations in the country and the swift investigation and prosecution of those responsible. PNA