President Rodrigo Duterte’s friendly stance with China should result in legalization of around 200,000 undocumented Filipino workers there, according to a lawmaker.
ACTS-OFW party-list group Rep. Ancieto Bertiz made the statement on Monday, or a day after Duterte assured that Filipino fishermen in a few days can fish again in Scarborough Shoal (Panatag Shoal) in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) where the Philippines has fishing rights under a ruling by the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration.
“If we are warming up our relations with China, then they [Chinese authorities] should legalize these [Filipino] workers. There are 200,000 undocumented workers in China, most of them are household service workers, tutors, teachers,” Bertiz told reporters.
He said China only issues work visas for Filipinos who belong to a musical band that performs in hotels.
“China does not issue work visas for these [undocumented]workers because it will affect the stock of millions of Chinese in the workforce. Building relations is not just about agriculture and the territorial dispute, it should also be about crafting policies that will ensure the welfare of our workers. As it is, a lot of them earn less than their local counterparts,” Bertiz added.
He, however, virtually contradicted himself by saying that Duterte’s anti-US rhetoric where he cursed US President Barack Obama, criticized Americans for “lacking civility” and called them“white monkeys” would not affect undocumented Filipino workers in the United States.
Bertiz said it is just right for the US government to deport the undocumented Filipino workers in the US because they abuse tourist and student visas granted to them by overstaying.
Overstaying Filipinos in the US are derisively called TNT (Tago ng Tago), which means hiding perpetually.
“They violated the privileges granted to them, so the US has the right to deport them,” Bertiz said.
Congressman LRay Villafuerte of Camarines Sur said Duterte’s friendly stance with China should spur economic integration among Asian countries toward shared progress.
“I welcome Malacañang’s economic managers’ pronouncement that the Philippines will continue relations with Western countries even as the President recalibrates foreign policy with the end in view of integrating our economy with Asean as well as with Asia’s economic giants China, South Korea and Japan,” Villafuerte added.
“Greater trade prospects for the Philippines with other Asian economies should convince the investor community that our country is now the best place to set up shop in. Moody’s and multilateral lenders such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund believe that the Philippines would remain as one of the world’s best performing economies. We should not squander this opportunity,” he said.