MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said illegal Chinese workers in the Philippines should be deported but the issue should be approached "carefully."
"They should be deported but in the same manner, you should be careful because when you point at the Chinese, you’re also pointing at yourself. There are so many thousands of Filipinos working there, [who] went inside China as tourists and [started] working there," Duterte told reporters in Bohol.
"It is not okay but there has to be an arrangement there."
Duterte said China has not deported any illegal Filipino workers.
"If you think that you are at a loss, you are at a disadvantage because there are so many Chinese nationals working here, remember we have the same equal amount of people of Filipinos who are there working in China," he said.
"Wala naman silang dineport (They did not deport anyone). So maybe you can just tell them to go home. Otherwise, if you start to get rough on this issue, there is a distinct possibility that will also happen to you. When you sail your ship of state, you avoid turbulent waters."
The Senate has launched a probe into the rise of Chinese workers in the Philippines to check whether or not these foreigners are taking over jobs that could have been for Filipinos.
Labor officials told the Senate inquiry on Monday that some 50,000 of the 115,000 alien employment permits issued from 2015 to 2017 went to Chinese nationals.
Online gaming is one of the factors that contributed to the rise of Chinese workers in the Philippines, the Bureau of Immigration said Tuesday.