Duterte urged to push legalization of undocumented OFWs in China
A party-list lawmaker representing overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Congress urged President Rodrigo Duterte to push for the legalization of over 200,000 undocumented migrant workers in China.
In a press briefing on Monday, ACTS-OFW Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III said there are around 200,000 undocumented Filipino workers in China as household workers, tutors, private teachers, among others who were not given work visas by China.
Bertiz urged Duterte to pitch for the documentation of these illegal migrant workers as a confidence building measure in resuming bilateral talks with China on the maritime dispute over the West Philippine Sea.
“‘Yung pagbisita ni President sa China. ‘Yung concern ng sector namin being the OFWs, is the legalization of the agreement between China and the Philippines. Hanggang ngayon kasi, ‘yung mga nagtatrabaho sa China, majority of them, 200,000, puro undocumented, very few ang documented. ‘Yung bisita sana ng Presidente sa China, magkaroon ng balance,” Bertiz said.
(The President’s visit to China. Our sector’s concern, being the OFWs, is the legalization of the agreement between China and the Philippines. It’s because until now, the ones working in China, the majority of them, 200,000, most are undocumented, the documented ones are very few. Hopefully the President’s visit to China will bring balance.)
The Philippines won its arbitration case against China in the maritime claim over the West Philippine Sea that invalidated China’s nine-dash line based on historic claims. But the Duterte administration is cool to the idea of resuming bilateral talks and setting aside the arbitral ruling for the meantime.
“I-recognize sila na maging legal… Ito rin ang nabanggit ni Labor Secretary (Silvestre) Bello III na pakikiusapan ang Presidente na i-request ang legalization ng 200,000 undocumented OFWs sa China,” Bertiz said.
(Recognize the workers as legal… This was mentioned by Labor Secretary Bello III, that the President would be asked to request for the legalization of 200,000 undocumented OFWs in China.)I
Labor Secretary Bello earlier said he had urged Duterte to discuss with Chinese officials the documentation of illegal OFWs in China during his state visit from Oct. 19 to 21, which earned the country $24-billion investment and credit line pledges from China.
“Basically, ‘yun ay magiging magandang indication na talagang sinsero ang China sa pakikipag-partnership sa Pilipinas,” Bertiz added.
(Basically, that will be a good indication in showing China’s sincerity in their partnership with the Philippines.)
Asked about legalizing Chinese aliens in the Philippines as a trade-off, Bertiz said it would be better to clean up the issue of undocumented workers first before getting into a consensus in terms of migrant workers’ concerns in both countries.JE/rga
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