MANILA -- Chinese nationals who allegedly suffered from abuse while working in the Philippines should file complaints before local authorities, Malacanang said Thursday, in response to an appeal from China.
China's Embassy in Manila earlier called on the Filipino government to "punish" casinos and Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations or POGOs that illegally employ Chinese workers.
"They should file formal complaints so that this particular concern will be raised in the appropriate agencies of the government so we can properly respond," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters.
According to the embassy, some Chinese workers had their passports taken away while others were subjected to "extortion, physical abuse and torture as well as other ill-treatments."
Citing media reports, the embassy said Chinese workers suffered from "modern slavery" due to limits to their freedom.
Beijing's call came after after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp proposed the transfer of POGOs to "self-contained" hubs to limit Chinese workers' interactions with Filipinos.
“We want to know exactly the specific behaviors committed by the Chinese workers para alam natin, baka naman hindi rude (so that we know, maybe they're not rude)," Panelo said.
Panelo also assured Beijing that Manila would not tolerate any abuses and would implement the law properly.