Probe on alleged entry of illegal foreign workers sought



A TRADE union representative has sought a congressional probe into the alleged illegal entry of foreign workers into the country.

House Resolution (HR) 874 was filed last March 3 by Party-list Rep. Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza (Trade Union Congress of the Philippines) to protect the interest of the Filipino workers displaced by the “massive entry” of overseas workers.

“The entry of foreign workers to the country has serious adverse implications not only in the construction, fishing and other industries but also in the overall unemployment and underemployment situation in the country,” Mr. Mendoza said.

Citing a report from the Social Weather Stations (SWS), Mr. Mendoza said the unemployment rate in the country is 27.5% or about 12.1 million Filipinos from September to December last year.

He noted that employment generation over the past two years “has fallen short” of the official goal of adding one million new jobs a year “in order to absorb new entrants into the labor force.”

“Foreign workers will only be allowed to work in the country if there is no Filipino national who is competent, able and willing to do the job for which the services of the applicant is desired,” Mr. Mendoza explained in his resolution.

Mr. Mendoza, in his resolution, also urge the House committee on labor and employment to review the labor and immigration laws in connection to allowing foreign workers in the country.

He bared that some 3,000 Chinese nationals were employed by a multinational company to work in construction sites in Bataan and Batangas “without the required government working permits.”

Mr. Mendoza, in his resolution said that under the Omnibus Guidelines for the Issuance of Employment Permits in the Labor department, “a foreign national who is seeking a job in the country must apply for an Alien Employment Permit (AEP)”.

Data from the database of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) showed that there are currently 208,900 foreign nationals staying in the Philippines but hundreds of them have insufficient personal data.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has earlier said the agency and other concerned government agencies “have been exerting efforts to weed out illegal foreign workers in the country.”

Labor Secretary Rosalinda D. Baldoz earlier told reporters that the department is investigating the reported illegal foreign workers in the local construction sector — particularly in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Calabarzon, among others.

Ms. Baldoz said the DoLE’s regional offices immediately conducted investigations as early as September 2013 in relation to the said reports.

She added that in Calabarzon, the DoLE found out that 13 Chinese have been working for a large construction company in Batangas without permits, and they ordered the company employing those Chinese workers to comply with the requirement.

In Central Luzon, Ms. Baldoz said 10 Chinese workers are awaiting deportation after they were found to have no permits.

For its part, the BI has earlier directed foreign nationals with expired visas to voluntarily surrender and leave the country “at the earliest possible time”.

Immigration Commissioner Siegfred B. Mison has said at least a hundred illegal workers had been rounded up at various locations in Metro Manila and Mindanao.

He said most of them were Chinese working in shopping malls in Manila’s Divisoria and Quiapo, as well as in Parañaque City, Cebu City and Butuan City. “While in the Philippines, such foreign nationals shall not be allowed to change their status without first departing from the country,” Mr. Mison said.

Mr. Mendoza urged the government to create decent employment opportunities and level the playing field for Filipino job seekers at home and abroad.

Mr. Mendoza said thousands of Chinese workers have been employed in the country and some have assimilated either through marrying a Philippine citizen or acquiring citizenship. — Imee Charlee C. Delavin

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