Filipinos not fit for work? Chinese manual laborers seen in PH construction site

Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 28 2019 10:37 PM

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MANILA - Several Chinese workers have been spotted at a construction site in the country, amid concerns that the influx of foreign workers are getting much-needed jobs from Filipinos.

ABS-CBN News has obtained a video of a construction project showing foreigners doing manual labor, from mixing cement to loading, and carrying construction materials.

A news team went to the site to interview the workers and the contractor.

The Chinese contractor said they have 50 Filipino and 15 Chinese workers.

When asked why they have to employ Chinese workers, the contractor claimed that some Filipinos don't know how to do the work.

He said all their foreign workers have work permits.

'LOSING JOBS TO FOREIGNERS'

Labor group Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) has expressed alarm over the presence of foreign workers, even in privately funded construction projects, saying it is proof that Filipinos are losing jobs in our their own land.

The group said it is distressing enough that foreign workers are employed in government projects funded by Chinese financial institutions, but it is even more alarming that foreign workers are also employed in privately funded projects.

"They're obviously working in ordinary jobs that Filipinos can also do," said Alan Tanjusay, ALU-TUCP spokesperson.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), however, said foreign workers are not allowed in jobs that can be done by Filipinos, such as those in construction.

"I have not seen jobs in the construction sector that Filipinos can't do. That's why my stand has always been very clear when it comes to construction workers. We cannot allow, we will not allow or grant an alien employment permit," Labor Sec. Silvestre Bello said.

The labor department said it will sign an memorandum of agreement with several other government agencies for the implementation of new regulations on the issuance of work permits for foreign workers.

It has been agreed that only DOLE may issue alien employment permits.

Foreign workers will also be required a tax identification number when they apply for a permit, and although agencies like the Bureau of Immigration will still be allowed to issue provisional or temporary work permits, they now have to report the issuances to DOLE.

"The agencies will give us a list of those they gave or will give permits to, so we will know as well. We will take inventory, so to speak," Bello said.

DOLE is currently finalizing a master list of all types of permits issued to all foreign workers