A protester holds a placard during a rally coinciding the Philippines' 120th Independence Day at the Chinese consulate in Manila, Philippines on Tuesday, 12 June 2018. Protesters staged protests outside the Chinese consulate and the US embassy on the Philippines' 120th Independence Day to protest China's bullying and militarization in the West Philippine Sea, and the United States' alleged meddling in the country's domestic affairs. According to reports, a recent video allegedly showed China's coast guard boarding a fishing boat and taking their catch. (Photo by Richard James Mendoza/NurPhoto)
A protester holds a placard during a rally coinciding the Philippines' 120th Independence Day at the Chinese consulate in Manila, Philippines on Tuesday, 12 June 2018. Photo by Richard James Mendoza/NurPhoto via AFP Forum

An influx of Chinese workers into the Philippines has provoked a backlash against President Rodrigo Duterte’s lean towards China for economic and financial sustenance, underwritten by promises of billions of dollars-worth of aid and assistance.

Legislative inquiries recently revealed that as many as 119,000 Chinese nationals, most arriving as tourists but then staying on, have skirted labor regulations and are now working illegally in the country.

Other media reports and conflicting government figures have suggested the figure may be as high as 400,000.

The investigations have detonated a political bombshell in a country where unemployment is rampant, anti-China sentiment runs deep and millions of skilled Filipinos are forced to seek employment overseas, often in dangerous and difficult conditions.

Currently, more than ten million Filipinos work overseas in a range of professions and trades. They sent home more than US$18 billion in remittances, last year, contributing around 10% of gross domestic product.

Duterte and other senior officials have sought to downplay the politically charged reports, arguing that there is a dearth of Filipino workers to staff in particular a boom in the casino and entertainment industry, which is largely managed and invested by Chinese companies.

Officials have also claimed specialized Chinese workers are needed for the government’s “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program, in which mega-projects are being funded and in certain cases led by Chinese construction and engineering firms.

Illegal Chinese gaming industry workers apprehended in Manila by the National Bureau of Investigation in 2018. Photo: Facebook

Anna Mae Lamentillo, a government official who oversees the government’s ballyhooed infrastructure-building drive, implied last month that skilled Chinese workers are needed to complete the public works.

“If we are using new technology and we do not have the specialized skill required to operate, for example, the machines to hasten the construction, then we really lack specialized skills,” she said.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo entered the fray by saying at a late January press conference that “We lack so many construction workers, perhaps that’s why many Chinese workers were hired. Many Filipinos do not have jobs and yet they lack the skill so we need to teach [them].”

Philippine Foreign Secretary Teddy Locsin has also pushed back against the criticism, tweeting on February 4 that the “Chinese get in via ‘visas upon arrival’ strictly administered by Immigration and do not take jobs from Filipinos.” He accused critics of the Chinese influx of being “racist.”

Under political pressure, Duterte responded to the furor, saying on February 23, “Allow the Chinese to work here, let them be. Why? We have 300,000 Filipinos in China, that’s why I can’t say ‘Oh, leave this country. We’ll have you deported’…What if the 300,000 of them were asked to leave?” in retaliation by Chinese authorities.

Surveys show anti-China sentiment is rising in the Philippines. According to the latest Social Weather Stations’ survey, China has a “poor” -16 net trust rating, the lowest among all polled nations. In comparison, the US received a +59 net trust rating, while Japan scored +28.

This may explain why, apart from the usual opposition critics, even Duterte’s political allies are joining the anti-China chorus.

Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte (L) and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping shake hands after a signing ceremony in Beijing on October 20, 2016.
Photo: AFP/Pool

“This is a matter of enforcing our own rules and regulations, not just for the protection of jobs for Filipinos but also the protection of the rights of the workers regardless of nationality,” Senator Emmanuel Joel Villanueva, former chief of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the country’s main job training agency, told the Manila Bulletin newspaper.

Villanueva, a Duterte ally who is nonetheless leading the legislative inquiry into the influx of Chinese workers, ran and almost topped the Senate race in 2016 on a campaign vow to facilitate more training and create more jobs for ordinary Filipinos.

“If you are illegal, you have no right and you are not protected by laws. So the bottom line is enforcement of laws to protect workers’ rights and our ‘Filipino First’ policy,” Villanueva added.

Panfilo Lacson, an ex-Philippine National Police chief, has chimed in that there should be no special treatment for Chinese nationals. “No exception, please — Chinese, Japanese, Americans, even from planet Mars,” he added with a twist on the notion of illegal aliens.

“Whatever the president says, I would rather that we give premium to Filipino workers by deporting foreign nationals illegally working here, and worse, taking away scarce job opportunities from our own countrymen,” Lacson said.

Senator Francis Pangilinan, a leading opposition statesman and businessman who some believe has presidential ambitions, called on the government to deport all illegal Chinese workers “without fanfare.”

“The administration should not be afraid of China in the face of hundreds of thousands of their citizens working here illegally,” Pangilinan said. “What it should fear is the anger of millions of our people who remain jobless while we give special treatment to these Chinese illegals,” he said in a February 25 statement.

Protesters holds placards with portraits of China’s President Xi Jinping during a rally in front of the Chinese consulate in Manila on November 21, 2018, held to coincide with Xi’s visit to the Philippines. Photo Ted Aljibe/AFP

The issue clearly has incendiary potential. In early February, there was a national uproar over social media when 23-year-old Chinese art student, Zhang Jiale, was caught on camera throwing soy pudding, known locally as “taho”, at a police officer who reminded her against bringing liquids onto Manila’s metro rail system.

Leading politicians, including Vice President Leni Robredo, grandstanded over what they perceived as an affront to Philippine “dignity” and called on Duterte’s government to take swift and decisive action against all abusive Chinese nationals.

“What happened is not just disrespect against our police but also our country,” exclaimed Robredo, claiming that such incidents are a result of the “special treatment” Duterte’s administration has given to Chinese nationals.

Economics are also an issue. The Filipino middle class have started to complain about skyrocketing real estate prices in major cities as Chinese workers and online gaming outfits purchase prime property at premium rates.

With Chinese nationals increasingly ubiquitous in major commercial areas of Manila, some provocative commentators have even started to talk about “virtual colonization.”

In a widely circulated editorial entitled “I thought I was in China”, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the country’s largest newspaper, said “[t]he Chinese influx has not only upended the local job market; it has also jacked up prices of condominium rentals.”

The editorial chastised the government’s “pro-China stance” and its “guesswork-ruled governance” that can’t provide exact figures on “[h]ow many Chinese workers are now in the Philippines, what is the status of their stay and what exactly do they do here?”

Join the Conversation


  1. My brother recommended I might like this website. He used to be entirely right. This publish actually made my day. You can not consider simply how so much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  2. For newest information you have to pay a quick visit web
    and on world-wide-web I found this website as a best website for latest updates.

  3. Hello there, I found your web site via Google while searching for a related topic, your site came up, it looks great. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  4. I do consider all the ideas you’ve presented in your post.
    They’re really convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are very quick for starters.
    Could you please extend them a bit from subsequent time?
    Thanks for the post.

  5. Hey! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when viewing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to fix this problem. If you have any recommendations, please share. Appreciate it!

  6. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove people from that service? Appreciate it!

  7. Wow that was strange. I just wrote an really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t appear. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Regardless, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

  8. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this website. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s tough to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and appearance. I must say you have done a fantastic job with this. Also, the blog loads extremely fast for me on Safari. Outstanding Blog!

  9. hello there and thank you for your info – I’ve certainly picked up something new from right here.

    I did however expertise a few technical issues using this site, since I experienced to reload the
    website lots of times previous to I could get it to load correctly.

    I had been wondering if your hosting is OK? Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times
    will often affect your placement in google
    and could damage your quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.
    Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my e-mail and could look out for
    a lot more of your respective exciting content. Ensure that
    you update this again soon.

  10. Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I
    found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said
    “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put
    the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched
    her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

  11. Se ha puesto a disposición del público interesado un teléfono de información general de la exposición: 92 99 73. Esta atención telefónica estará funcionando de lunes a domingo de 9:00 a 21:00 horas. Esta serie que Sorolla empezó a esbozar en 11 quedó concluida en 19 y su ejecución llevó al artista a viajar por toda España pintando y tomando apuntes durante los ocho años que duró la creación del trabajo. El resultado es una de las muestras de mejor colorido de Sorolla, presente tanto en las combinaciones de los trajes como en las bandas del paisaje que sirve como fondo. Para su” Castilla, el pintor tomó los modelos al natural pero terminó la composición en su estudio de Madrid.

  12. This design is spectacular! You certainly
    know how to keep a reader amused. Between your wit and your
    videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job.
    I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how
    you presented it. Too cool!

  13. Cumpla las velocidades de alimentación de la máquina; no fuerce materiales hacia la máquina ni tire de ellos más rápido de lo que la máquina pueda procesarlos. Mecanizados Moan, S.L. lleva a cabo un proyecto de Ampliación y mejora de sus instalaciones que le permitirá mejorar el área de mecanizado así como ampliar su capacidad producción.

  14. Servicios prestados: Venta directa de electrodomésticos al mejor precio, reparación de frigorífico, instalación de horno, reparación de aire acondicionado, reparación de secadora, instalación de Vitrocerámica, reparación de lavadora, reparación nevera, reparación de nevera, reparar nevera, instalación de lavavajillas, reparar frigorífico, instalar lavadora, reparar frigo, instalar horno, reparar lavadora, instalar Vitrocerámica, reparación de vítro, instalación de lavadora, reparar vitro, instalar lavavajillas, instalación de secadora, instalar secadora, reparación de frigo, instalación de secadora, reparar secadora, reparación SAT, SAT electrodomésticos, técnico de electrodomésticos, venta de frigoríficos lavadoras, lavavajillas, secadoras, hornos, Vitrocerámica, campanas, etc. Nuestro servicio de Urgencias, no tiene coste adicional, de tal manera que junto con nuestro DESPLAZAMIENTO GRATUITO si repara, hará que su lavadora Edesa, vuelva a funcionar como el primer día al mejor precio posible en Madrid. Nuestro equipo técnico posee conocimientos actualizados y experiencia, garantizados por una amplia formación técnica y de producto, así como cursos de actualización.

  15. I was more than happy to uncover this great site. I need to to thank
    you for your time for this particularly
    fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every part of it and I have you saved to fav to check out new things
    in your blog.

  16. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this
    matter to be really something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extremely broad for me.
    I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try
    to get the hang of it!

  17. It’s really a nice and helpful piece of information. I am satisfied that
    you simply shared this useful info with us.
    Please stay us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  18. I’m also writing to make you be aware of of the impressive encounter my cousin’s princess obtained visiting yuor web blog. She learned so many pieces, which included what it is like to possess a marvelous giving heart to make other people smoothly know just exactly specific advanced issues. You really did more than her desires. Thanks for imparting the productive, trustworthy, edifying and cool guidance on this topic to Tanya.

  19. Magnificent beat ! I would like to apprentice whilst you amend your website, how can i subscribe for a weblog web site? The account aided me a appropriate deal. I were a little bit familiar of this your broadcast provided vibrant transparent concept

  20. I like the helpful info you supply in your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and check once
    more here regularly. I’m rather sure I’ll be told plenty of
    new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

  21. Can I simply say what a comfort to discover an individual who really knows what they’re discussing over the internet. You certainly understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people must look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you are not more popular because you most certainly possess the gift.

    http:///www.manulescu.com – manumanu

  22. Thank you, I’ve recently been searching for information about this topic for ages and yours is the best I have discovered so far. But, what about the bottom line? Are you sure about the source?

  23. I’m not positive where you are getting your information, however good topic. I must spend a while studying much more or working out more. Thanks for excellent information I was looking for this info for my mission.

  24. really nice

    This is as a matter of fact credible data my friend. you are a dialect right good writer . i dearth to dividend with you my website as well. foresee me what do you think about it

    buy youtube views

    Thankyou again for posting such good content. Cheers

  25. Además de los recursos humanos, con el mejor plantel de profesionales del sector, contamos con la mejor maquinaria disponible para poder dar servicio a todo tipo de peticiones como fabricantes de piezas metálicas. En 1986 se fundo Mecanizados Alcoy con el fin de atender las demandas de equipos oleohidráulicos para los fabricantes de maquinaria de calzado, madera y mármol.

  26. hi!,I like your writing very a lot! percentage we keep in touch more approximately
    your post on AOL? I need an expert on this space to resolve my problem.

    Maybe that is you! Having a look forward to see you.

  27. This is a actually fascinating website I be required to say.

    Too polluted that there are not too varied websites like This anymore. But I am exhilarated that I bring about it. Ok champion writing on it .

    You can see my website here as luxuriously: xbody bucuresti

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.