PNP says no power over influx of Chinese workers

Raffy Santos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 08 2019 03:57 PM

MANILA - The Bureau of Immigration has sole jurisdiction over the influx of Chinese workers into the country, the Philippine National Police said Thursday, as Beijing urged Manila to crack down on casinos and offshore gaming firms that illegally employ its nationals. 

A growing number of Chinese nationals here in the Philippines have been involved in crimes like abduction, extortion and physical injury, mostly against their compatriots, said PNP Chief, Police General Oscar Albayalde. 

The police, however, cannot intervene unless these crimes are reported to them or charges are filed, he told reporters. 

The PNP also cannot put Chinese nationals under surveillance if no crime is being committed, Albayalde said. 

There are roughly 138,000 Chinese workers in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO), according to the initial estimate of an inter-agency task force reviewing the Internet-based business. 

Chinese law bans its citizens from engaging in "any form of gambling" including online and those that are based overseas but cater to Chinese nationals, China's embassy in Manila said in a statement on Thursday. 

"The Chinese side hopes and urges relevant departments of the Philippine Government to pay more attention to China's position and concerns and take concrete and effective measures to prevent and punish the Philippine casinos, POGOs and other forms of gambling entities for their illegal employment of Chinese citizens and crack down related crimes that hurt the Chinese citizens," according to the statement. 

The immigration bureau and several agencies last May signed an agreement aimed at tightening regulations on the issuance of special work permits to foreign nationals.