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Body urged to monitor foreign workers

ORGANIZED labor has proposed to President Rodrigo Duterte the creation of a tripartite monitoring body for foreign workers to better address problems arising from an influx of aliens, particularly Chinese, who are working and living in the country.

The monitoring body will be composed of government agencies, workers’ groups and the private sector, according to the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP).

The TUCP, the country’s biggest labor group, raised the idea on Friday amid serious issues such as non-payment of taxes by Chinese citizens working in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs).

“There must be a single tripartite board t

These photo taken in May 2019 shows Chinese workers working on the bridge that will connect Binondo and Intramuros. PHOTO BY JOHN ORVEN VERDOTE

hat addresses and manages the issues surrounding these foreign workers,” TUCP President and TUCP party-list Rep. Raymond Mendoza said.

It was revealed in a recent Senate hearing that there are around 400,000 foreigners working in Metro Manila.

Of the number, 150,000 are reportedly working in POGOs.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello 3rd has expressed concern over the influx of Chinese citizens, saying there were only 115,000 foreign workers with alien employment permits (AEPs) issued by regional directors of the Department of Labor and Employment.

Of the 115,000 AEPS, 51,000 were issued to Chinese citizens.

Under the TUCP’s proposal, the tripartite body will report directly to the President.

It is to be composed of government agencies, workers groups and private business organizations coordinating with foreign embassies, with a mandate to inspect and manage the needs and growth potentials of the industry and its workers.

“Right now, no one is in charge of this new multi-billion dollar industry [POGOs] because government agencies have limitations and [are] unable to go beyond their respective mandates. However, with this tripartite government, workers and business oversight body, the government must be able to fill the gaps and be able to be in control of these overlapping needs of the business and the workers,” the TUCP said.

The government, it added, was at a loss on the number of legally and illegally working Chinese and other foreign workers actually staying in the country, partly because different government agencies issue different permits and various visas.

The TUCP had also been raising with the government the issue of Chinese construction workers performing jobs that can be performed by Filipino workers.

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