Actress Lauren Young questioned the legality of a Subic establishment’s right to operate as she noticed it has a Chinese-only customer policy.
The newly-owned establishment had a signage on its front door that said, “Only for Chinese customer.”
Young then wondered if she would be allowed to open an establishment which is only exclusive for “Filipino” or “dog” customers.
Is this even legal? (My fave resto in Subic has been sold and this sign is up) I really want to know if business owners are allowed to do this.
If I had a restaurant am I allowed to put up these signs for example:
“Only for dog Customers”
“Only for Filipino Customers”
— Lauren Young (@loyoung) July 15, 2019
“Is this even legal? (My fave resto in Subic has been sold and this sign is up) I really want to know if business owners are allowed to do this,” the actress tweeted.
One of the Twitter users called the attention of the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Foreign Affairs over the matter.
— Ros_© 🌹🇵🇭 (@Rosie_1007) July 15, 2019
DTI responded by saying that Filipinos could lodge their concern through its Consumer Protection and Advocacy Bureau, a group within the agency in charge of enforcing laws to protect consumers.
Please lodge your concern to the Consumer Protection and Advocacy Bureau (CPAB) Phone: (+632) 751.4748 / Email : CPAB@dti.gov.ph
— DTI Philippines (@DtiPhilippines) July 15, 2019
Other concerned Twitter users also claimed that the establishment in question must have a proper business permit to operate in the first place.
The question is, now that it is Chinese owned, do they even have a proper or updated permit to operate.
— Paolo Anastacio 🐺 (@paoloanastacio) July 15, 2019
One Twitter user claimed that he is “friends” with the Korean owners of the original site of Hana.
According to him, the owners “recently leased the business to Chinese and were completely unaware of the sign” until he showed them the pictures.
“Something will be done about it soon. This is technically not Hana,” he wrote.
Last May, the DTI ordered the suspension of China Food City, a food park in Las Piñas which had Chinese establishments that lacked proper business permits and official receipts from the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
An authorized establishment must secure necessary business permits prior to its operation in order to be legally recognized by the government.
The agency investigated the food park after claims on social media went viral about it only allegedly serving Chinese people.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo urged Filipinos to file formal complaints against businesses who refuse to serve them based on their ethnicity or nationality.
“They cannot be discriminating against Filipinos. It’s a public business and therefore it should cater to all,” he said at a press briefing last May.
Growing presence of Chinese workers
Since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016, he has been warming up to China despite its continuous encroachment on Philippine maritime territories.
One phenomenon linked to his foreign policy shift was the noticeable increase of Chinese nationals seeking work in the country.
Online casinos collectively called POGOS, short for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators, are rapidly expanding as a sector set to overtake business process outsourcing companies as tenants of office spaces, a property consulting firm said last week.
The government estimates that 138,000 Chinese workers are employed in POGOs but David Leechiu, a top property consultant, estimates the number of employees from mainland China to be 345,000.
The online casinos, mostly catering to mainland Chinese people, are manned in the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries by Chinese workers since Chinese President Xi Jinping banned online gambling in China.