JV Ejercito expressed his concern over the influx of mainland Chinese in the country after seeing many of them in busy districts in Metro Manila.
Similar worries and other anti-Chinese sentiments have recently been growing due to mixed political and behavioral issues of Chinese nationals here.
“Influx of mainland Chinese is alarming. I see them all over now,” he said on December 16.
“Before they were just in Parañaque/Pasay/Roxas area. Now they are in Mandaluyong, Ortigas and other areas as well,” he added.
Influx of mainland Chinese is alarming. I see them all over now. Before they were just in Parañaque/Pasay/Roxas area. Now they are in Mandaluyong, Ortigas and other areas as well.
— JV Ejercito (@jvejercito) December 16, 2019
The former senator’s tweet was seen by some as xenophobic, not considerate of the thousands of Filipinos who live and work in Hong Kong and mainland China.
Another user also said other Asian tourists also roam the country.
Ejercito then mentioned the recent cases of kidnapping, illegal drugs, prostitution and gambling, which Chinese nationals were allegedly involved in, as well as their poor behavior as tourists.
He also cited the territorial dispute of the West Philippine Sea as a reason for his distrust.
Ejercito previously raised his suspicions over the rise of Chinese workers in the country.
Last March, when he was still a lawmaker, he called on the government to prioritize providing job opportunities to Filipinos rather than foreigners, particularly those from China.
Amid the controversies surrounding the sinking of a Filipino vessel in Recto Bank last June, Ejercito questioned the country’s friendship with China on Twitter.
On June 9, a Chinese vessel hit the Filipino fishing boat F/B GEM-VIR1 and nearly killed 22 Filipino fishermen on board.
He also quipped on his ire against Chinese nationals who cut in long lines.
“Pinalubog na ang barko, iniwan pa ang crew members sa dagat. Kaibigan ba talaga ang China? Kaya gusto ko sila sikuhin kapag sumisingit sa mga linya!” Ejercito said that time.
Distrust of China
Ejercito could be echoing a public distrust of China as a state. According to the recent Social Weather Stations survey, the trust rating of China among Filipinos has fallen from “poor” at –24 net rating last June to “bad” at –33 net rating last September.
Of the 1,800 Filipino adults who participated in the survey, 54% had little trust in China and 21% had much trust.
The survey was conducted from September 27 to 40 for the third quarter SWS survey on the trust rating of Filipinos to Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia, China and the United States.
The perception against China mostly involves problems and inconveniences that came with the migration of its residents.
The influx of Chinese nationals to the Philippines started in 2016, according to data from the Bureau of Immigration. The period coincides with President Rodrigo Duterte’s rise to power and friendlier policy toward China.
It was also the same year the offshore gaming companies or POGOs were introduced as a new industry in the country. These firms mostly hire expatriated Chinese workers from mainland China.
From January to September 2018, the agency recorded a total of 973,614 Chinese arrivals in the country.
Their growing population soon caused several problems and inconveniences.
- Real estate prices in areas where they live and work racked up, making them too expensive for Filipinos.
- Some of the POGO firms were also found to be not paying income taxes with a reported omission of P32 billion.
- A large number of them who came as visitors turned out to be illegal workers. In 2018, seventy-seven percent or a total of 304 of them were arrested due to overstaying or working without permits.
Moreover, complaints of their unruly behavior here such as cutting in queues and poor toilet manners also add fuel anti-Chinese sentiments.
Locals of other countries have shared the same stories of Chinese nationals causing them discomfort since China’s economic growth in the early 2000s.