MANILA - The Philippines needs to "crack down"on illegal Chinese workers in the country without sacrificing the progress achieved in terms of tourist arrivals, its chief envoy to Beijing said Wednesday.
Manila is encouraging the arrival of Chinese tourist since the country is at the "tail-end" compared to Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia, Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago "Chito" Sta. Romana.
Chinese tourists in 2018 reached 1.25 million, double the 600,000 total in 2018, Sta. Romana told a press briefing in Beijing.
"The issue of illegal or Chinese presence in the Philippines, is an issue that is also subject to, you have to, if it’s illegal, you have to crack down what’s illegal," Sta. Romana said.
"Without sacrificing the progress we want to achieve in tourism, is how to avoid illegal or extended presence," he added.
It is a "domestic" issue, he said, citing loopholes in the issuance of work permits.
Sta. Romana said the same problem occurs in Beijing where some Filipinos travel as tourists to seek employment.
In 2018, "more than a thousand" unregistered Filipino workers in China were deported, he said.