DOLE to check on Chinese-only establishments
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Tuesday that it would look into reports on the growing number of establishments catering solely to Chinese nationals, but its inspections would only be limited to ensuring they were complying with the country’s labor laws.
According to Assistant Labor Secretary Benjo Benavidez, it‘s the Department of Trade and Industry and the local government where the business is located that are mandated to protect consumers. The DOLE could only if these Chinese-only establishments had not been putting Filipino workers at a disadvantage.
Among the concerns the DOLE would look into are if foreign workers in these establishments had secured the required alien employment permit (AEP).
DOLE issues an AEP only if no Filipino is competent enough or willing to do the job being offered to the foreigner.
Last Sunday, Sen. Panfilo Lacson urged government agencies, including the DOLE, to shut down businesses catering exclusively to Chinese customers, especially because they were competing with small and medium entrepreneurs and depriving Filipinos of work since their staff were also Chinese.
“They must closely scrutinize what kinds of investments are being brought here. I think they should discourage if the investment would deprive our countrymen the chance to make their lives better by having their own small business,” Lacson said.
Last week, the DOLE and three other agencies came out with a joint guideline limiting to just 15 categories the jobs for which foreigners could get special work permits (SWPs). The policy came after concerns grew that foreigners, particularly Chinese nationals, ha dbeen taking away jobs that could have gone to Filipinos.
In the online gaming industry alone, of the 138,000 foreigners employed by Philippine offshore gaming operators, 83,760 workers were issued SWPs by the Bureau of Immigration, while the rest were AEP holders.