MANILA - Vice-President Leni Robredo on Tuesday criticized President Rodrigo Duterte for seemingly protecting the interests of Chinese workers in the country more than the unemployed Filipinos.
Last week, the President said government cannot deport Chinese workers in the Philippines since Beijing could do the same to 300,000 Filipinos in China.
In response, Robredo said the government should improve working conditions in the country so Filipinos need not go abroad.
"Parang ang sinasabi niya hayaan na natin mga Chinese workers dito dahil may 300,000 Pinoy workers doon (sa China)."
"Bakit hindi natin ayusin na magkaroon ng good working conditions ang mga Pilipino dito para huwag na sila umalis at mawalay sa pamilya? Parang mali yata na hahayaan natin sila umalis para may space sa mga chinese workers dito," she added.
Robredo said the government's main goal should be bringing back overseas Filipino workers. She said that while the law allows foreign workers to get jobs Filipinos are incapable of doing, the law also stipulates that priority should be given to Filipinos.
"'Yung trabahong ginagawa niya dito hindi ba kaya ng Pilipino? Kasi kung kaya ng Pilipino 'yung trabaho nila, sa taas ng unemployment natin, bakit hindi i-prioritize ang mga Piilipino," the vice president said.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier said roughly half of the 169,000 Alien Employment Permits issued by the Department of Labor and Employment in the last 3 years went to Chinese nationals and a third of which are in support services, including offshore gaming.