To ensure local jobs are protected and to prevent foreign workers from being victimized by fly-by-night employers, the Philippine government is pushing for stringent work permits issued to foreign nationals.
The National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council chaired by the Department of Labor and Employment, along with the employers, business and labor groups including the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Federation of Free Workers and Sentro, are in the final stages of revising a stringent Alien Employment Permit issued to foreign nationals who wish to work in the country.
The biggest group of workers in the Philippines, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, has been calling on the government to enforce the work permit policy for all foreign workers in the country to ensure protection for foreign workers and domestic jobs.
“We have to make sure local jobs are not taken away by any foreigners and at the same time see to it foreign workers are not victims of slave labor,” said TUCP spokesman Alan Tanjusay in a text message.
Aside from human trafficking and fly-by-night manpower agencies, the AEP was reviewed in the light of the reported series of kidnapping, torture and violent acts inflicted on Chinese POGO workers last year, the “pastillas” bribery scandal on Immigration officials, and the Philippine government’s decision to allow blue-collar Chinese workers to work in the construction industry, which are taking away jobs from Filipino workers.
The group noted a report that Chinese workers were allowed by the government to work on the Binondo-Intramuros bridge and in the Estrella-Pantaleon bridge projects in a Manila-Beijing deal called Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation that was signed in May last year.
The recent reports of Chinese nationals being caught in the act by police as they blatantly violated COVID-19 health protocols is also a serious cause for concern.
On Sept. 26, Makati Police raided a KTV bar and found 30 Chinese nationals not observing physical distancing in violation of the government’s COVID-19 health regulations. The Chinese nationals were issued citation tickets by the police for violating the safety and health protocol.
The labor groups is bringing up the issue of workers being allowed in the construction industry in a meeting by the Construction Industry Tripartite Council made up of labor groups, DOLE, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Public Works and Highways, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and Filipino contractors.
A meeting of the tripartite council is set today, Monday, Sept. 28.
The council discusses and sets policies on construction safety and health, wages and benefits of Filipino construction workers working in the country to improve working conditions in building quality infrastructures.
The group is pushing for stricter requirements for foreign workers to ensure foreign workers are not working for fly-by-night entities and at the same protect local jobs.