MANILA - Malacañang on Thursday questioned former President Benigno Aquino III’s basis for saying that Chinese workers may be getting jobs that should otherwise be given to Filipinos.
During the launch of a book on the South China Sea at the De La Salle University, Aquino said businessmen have told him about the apparent surge of Chinese nationals working in the Philippines.
Aquino said many of the Chinese workers were in the construction industry.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo dismissed Aquino’s statement, questioning the former chief executive’s basis for his claim.
“Sabihin na lang natin na if he’s concerned, we will also be concerned if his basis is correct,” Panelo said in a Palace press briefing.
“What was his basis? Was it a statistics made by his group?”
The immigration bureau earlier said most of the Chinese workers in the Philippines are concentrated in the online gaming industry, where employees are required to have knowledge of the Chinese language.
Panelo said the possible surge of Chinese workers in the construction industry may be due to the supposed absence of Filipino manpower.
The Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte has sought to forge closer economic ties with China despite its dispute with the Asian power over the South China Sea.
Aquino, under whose leadership the Philippines hailed China to an international tribunal in connection to the maritime dispute, has questioned Duterte’s China policy saying it is against the interests of Filipinos.