MANILA - While recognizing the value of tourism to the economy, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon on Wednesday said the pronounced influx of Chinese nationals into the country is a security risk.
"As the National Security Adviser, I have the tendency to look at it as a threat," he said.
"I’m on the cautious side. When foreigners, regardless of nationality, come in, and their intent is not clear. Or when some of them are undocumented, or have false documentation."
Esperon said it was worth looking into the work of the agencies concerned with the entry of foreigners, to see if the proper processes are being followed.
"If we have such things as rules of naturalization, rules of labor, and they are not followed, bakit nagkakaganoon?" he said.
“Mayron bang diperensya ang ating immigration officers? Tatanungin ko si Commissioner Morente, dahil sa pagkakaalam ko, napaka-strikto niyan. Nakikita ba niya lahat ng ginagawa ng mga tao niya, kung nababantayn ba kung ano yung pagpasok.”
Esperon said interagency meetings have been held specifically to address this concern, especially since various worrisome incidents have been brought to their attention.
While the government welcomes the economic gain that an influx of tourists brings, he said “there is always the other side of the coin. We must not let our guard down.”
He cited figures from Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez, saying should all the newly arrived Chinese nationals be taxed, the Philippines stands to earn P2 billion a month, approximating the incomes of business process outsourcing.