MANILA – Several Chinese establishments are operating on tourist island Boracay with about 200 to 300 workers from the mainland, a local official confirmed Wednesday.
The influx of Chinese tourist arrivals after Boracay re-opened in October last year following a 6-month rehabilitation has led to an estimated 30-percent increase in the number of Chinese establishments on the island, Malay, Aklan acting mayor Abram Sualog told ANC.
He said there were "more or less" 100 Chinese-run businesses on the island.
“Because of the influx of Chinese tourists, normally the Chinese businessmen are coming in. More or less, there are less than a hundred of them who are operating in the island,” Sualog said.
“[The number of] Chinese [tourists is] bigger than the Korean because the influx of Chinese are getting higher than the Koreans. According to our data, [the] Chinese are prevailing now, as far as [the number of] tourists is concerned,” he added.
When asked whether all Chinese establishments have the necessary business permits, Sualog said: “At our local level, we are asking them or requiring them to apply permits especially those who are running businesses like restaurants and hotel.”
He said the local government has also urged Chinese workers to secure a permit from the Bureau of Immigration as a requisite to being granted a Mayor’s permit.
A number of Chinese nationals working in restaurants and as tour guides have been apprehended for failure to secure the necessary permits for local employment, Sualog said.
Apprehended foreign nationals are required to pay a fine and may be ordered to leave the island, he said.
“Our enforcers, they’re apprehending these Chinese nationals who were not able to secure Mayor’s permit. There are those who were apprehended,” he said.
Inspectors from the Department of Labor and Employment are on “red alert” as they monitor the situation in Boracay, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello said in a separate interview.
While the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has no control over foreign businesses setting up shop on the island, it vows to ensure that no Chinese national could take jobs fit for Filipinos, Bello said.
The Department of Finance earlier ordered the consolidation of data on foreign nationals working in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) to ensure correct taxes are being paid.