Villanueva to call for Senate probe on arrested illegal Chinese workers in Clark

The Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development chaired by Senator Joel Villanueva is set to lead an inquiry on December 7, Wednesday, on the reported presence of alleged illegal Chinese workers in Clark, Pampanga who were arrested by the Bureau of Immigration last November 25.

The incident which is said to be the "biggest single arrest of illegal aliens" done by the BI has apprehended a total of 1,316 alleged illegal Chinese workers in a resort and casino complex at Clark Freeport Zone.

Officials coming from the Bureau of Immigration, Department of Labor and Employment, and Philippine National Police will be invited to attend the said hearing.

In Senate Resolution No. 242 filed by Villanueva, the senator expressed alarm over the rising number of illegal foreign workers in the Philippines in manufacturing, construction, power grids, and in the mines of CARAGA region.

"These illegal foreign workers are displacing our Filipino workers. DOLE should implement strong monitoring policies for migrant workers to control this influx," Villanueva said.

As of 2015, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) has estimated that there are over 3,500 illegal foreign workers in the country. The number has been projected to increase over the years if their entry won't be controlled and addressed.

The labor group said undocumented foreign workers in the country are employed commonly in construction, manufacturing, electronics, and services industries located in Metro Manila, Central Visayas, Davao Region, Zamboanga Peninsula, Bataan and Batangas.

"The huge number of illegal Chinese workers arrested in Clark signifies the growing bulk of undocumented workers across the country. This already calls for an immediate action by our government authorities as this might bring serious implications in our labor situation," Villanueva further stressed.

The Department of Labor and Employment enforces the rules on the issuance of alien employment permit while the BI is responsible for regulating the entry, stay, sojourn and exit of foreign nationals in the country.

The Philippine Labor Code provides that "any alien seeking admission to the Philippines for employment purposes and any domestic or foreign employer who desires to engage an alien for employment in the Philippines shall obtain an employment permit from the Department of Labor".

It further stipulates that "the employment permit may be issued to a non-resident alien or to the applicant employer after a determination of the non-availability of a person in the Philippines who is competent, able and willing at the time of application to perform the services for which the alien is desired".

The senator hopes that through the said probe, possible amendments to the Labor Code, immigration laws, and other pertinent statutes will be crafted. Villanueva further specified he wants to address the loopholes in the law, including the understudy training program required to be conducted by the foreign national working in the Philippines to transfer knowledge and/or skills to Filipino workers.

"The number of illegal alien workers in the country are growing very fast and crucial steps must be taken to address this. Abuses and exploitations certainly have no place in our labor sector," Villanueva said.

Source: Senate of the Philippines

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