OFWs in Shanghai worry over China-PH tensions

By Alvin Elchico, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 27 2014 11:36 AM | Updated as of Mar 27 2014 07:36 PM

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CHINA -Filipino workers in Shanghai are increasingly concerned over growing tensions between China and the Philippines due to territorial issues. Many fear their work status could be in danger.

Arnel Leal has been a waiter at a high-end restaurant in Shanghai for four years now. He and his fellow waiter, Jubert Vinluan can't help but worry about the territorial dispute between the two countries.

"Naiiyak po ako dahil nami-miss ko po ang pamilya ko sa Pilipinas. Sobrang hirap po ang buhay namin dito," said Leal.

Vinluan added, "Kung ayaw na po nila sa amin, ano naman po ang magagawa namin?"

Their supervisor, also a Filipino, admitted that if the issue spirals out of control, OFWs will definitely be on the losing end.

Government records show there are over 15,000 OFWs in China.

"Sinasabi po ng company namin baka mas mahirapan kami sa visa kaya sana mabilis aksyon ng gobyerno ng Pilipinas," said restaurant supervisor, Jonathan Saladar.

Another Filipino, Claude Cerbolles also holds a high position at a 5-star hotel in Shanghai. Although married to a Chinese national, he is still worried he could lose his work visa.

"They can join together, sit together, pag-usapan kung ano ang magandang na both can benefit in a good relationship," he said.

His brother, Cedric, also lives in Shanghai and married a Chinese national too. He teaches at a school together with three other Filipinos.

Cedric believes diplomacy is still key.

"To declare war or a fight, I don't think it will help. The solution is to talk in a peaceful way," he said.