Chinese in the Philippines

From 2005 to 2018 the number of Chinese holders of alien employment permits issued by the Department of Labor and Employment has grown by 24 times. In recent years many Filipinos couldn’t help but notice the sudden rise in the number of Chinese in the Philippines – whether as tourists, workers, or investors.

The number of Chinese nationals arriving in the country has nearly tripled since Duterte came to power in 2016. They filled hotel rooms and office towers previously intended for U.S. Call centers, snapped up condominiums and boosted retail sales. But despite the economic benefits, there has been a mounting backlash from locals who fear Chinese workers are taking jobs, evading taxes and committing crimes.

There are so many mainland Chinese nationals taking up residence all over the Philippines these days, it’s because many of them have been brought here by Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs), the online casino industry that may soon overtake the business outsource processing (BPO) sector.

Since the influx of Chinese workers in the metro and beyond has been increasing, social media has seen viral post after viral post criticizing the foreign nationals for alleged rude behavior and exclusivity bordering on discrimination. According to a post I saw recently on Facebook, a Filipino woman was entering the mall and while she was in the line for the usual security check, a very rude Chinese national nudge her, the woman shouted at the Chinese because she was surprised that someone touched her back but the Chinese guy ignored her, even the guard tried to call his attention because he was skipping the security check. The guy didn’t stop and just went on to his destination. The woman went to security office and filed a report. I wonder why this guy have the guts to do that. Do they look down to Filipinos and think of themselves as superior human being? Filipinos are known by our hospitability and welcoming attitude but I hope foreigners won’t take advantage of that. Maybe some Filipinos might just say things behind his back but if this kind of attitude will be seen to other Chinese people then I guess something needs to be done and they have to learn their lesson.

Another viral news is about the Chinese student who throws her soybean drink to a police officer at an MRT station. One of the witness have caught it in camera. The officer was helplessly humiliated by the rude Chinese national and many Filipinos were enraged. One senator even described it as a big insult to Filipinos. President Duterte is also outraged and assured that the authorities make necessary actions. The Philippine National Police filed assault charges against Jiale Zhang. Jiale Zhang, who is studying fashion design in the country, said she was just in a bad mood, she admitted her mistake and apologized. But still, the Chinese student was deported and even blacklisted preventing her from returning to the Philippines. I believe Zhang has learned her lesson. I felt angry at what she did I hoped she learned her lessons and other foreigners won’t make the same mistake she did.

Another Filipinos also said that Chinese people talks so loud in a fast food restaurant, he got annoyed and told them “not so loud please” and they lowered their voice down a little.

There are also Chinese descent in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan who are unable to tolerate such behaviours.

For example, in Hong Kong, there were instances where Chinese mothers allowed their children to urinate in public which made several Hong-Kong residents extremely unhappy. When confronted by Hong-Kong people, the mother slapped one on the face and hit another with the pram. If this happened in our country, Filipinos might think that she has a psychological issue or maybe she’s on drugs because that behavior is not normal anymore.

I think it probably has little to do with genetics or Chinese culture but rather the environment in China itself. China is such a huge country and massive population and there are a lot of factor as to why they act this way. I think those rude Chinese are uneducated and not aware of the culture of a foreign land. It is said that one of the main reason why Chinese tourists have earned a bad reputation is due to their self-centered and lawless ways, disregarding the regulations of other countries. The reason is due to the scarcity and immense competition which exists in the country. There has been a long recent history of 150 years of non-stop violence and political and social chaos. Things in China have only started to stabilize in the recent decades.

Another key contributing factor of uncivilized behavior would be the living conditions of many of the poor people in China which results in them having almost no concept of personal space, modesty and privacy. Many of them end up working in factories and live in terrible conditions such as crammed dormitories. As such, there is little concept of personal space and privacy. Thus, when Chinese people travel out of China. They fail to realize that other people value things like privacy and modesty which they did not have the luxury of having all their life. They don’t know that acts like speaking loudly causes disturbances to others because they have been just so used in living in environments where speaking loudly is a norm.

China is now getting richer and many people are educated. However their social inequality is also very high which means that there are many people who are deprived of the opportunity to further their studies. I would think that the quality of education in schools and poor public education is one of the main reasons why Chinese people are not as conscious as the rest of the world.

But there are still a lot of good Chinese people. I’ve seen those Chinese businessman who acts professionally and respects others.  And one of the things that I admire in Chinese are their ability to handle business very well, like the late Henry Sy who is the founder of SM Investments, one of the largest corporations in the Philippines which includes 77 SM malls, 56 supermarkets and over 200 grocery stores.

I feel grateful that as of now I still haven’t encountered any rude Chinese nationals because I might totally lose my temper and that would ruin my whole day.

Going back to the influx of Chinese workers, the entire debate over the propagation of Chinese workers in the Philippines has only grown more heated over time, but the reason why they are here is because of POGO’s.

Philippine offshore gaming operators are companies that provide online gambling services to foreigners. It’s like Poker, Blackjack, and Roulette, only they’re all facilitated via an online medium, with a virtual dealer often being played by a woman dressed in skimpy clothes on the screen. The woman and the large team of tech support behind the screen make up the POGO.

Philippine offshore gaming operators must be registered and licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). Any POGOs that are operating without a PAGCOR-issued license are considered illegal, and their workers, as well. As of June 9, 2019, there are 56 licensed POGO’s in the country that employ an estimated 100,000 to 250,000 Chinese nationals. Yet the number of illegal POGOs is estimated to be at around 30.

So POGOs are essentially online casinos operating out of the Philippines only Filipinos make up a slim percentage of their workforce.

So why are they operating in the Philippines? Because online gambling is illegal in China. The closest and cheapest alternative destination is the Philippines, where online gambling is legal and now regulated by PAGCOR.

One public job listing on Jobstreet posted a P80,000 to P130,000 per month job opening as a data analyst for a licensed POGO. The job listing, written in Chinese, is open to Chinese nationals who will also receive benefits such as free accommodation or rental allowance, free meals or meal allowance, and full reimbursements of airplane tickets to China and back while on vacation.

With an offer like that, it’s clear why so many Chinese nationals snap up the chance to work at these companies.

In order for Philippine offshore gaming operators to operate in the Philippines, they have to follow the strict rules laid down by the POGO regulating body, PAGCOR.

One of the most important rules that Philippine offshore gaming operators must abide by is the prohibition of Filipino citizens to play on their gaming platform. As per Regulation 1 of PAGCOR’s Offshore Gaming Regulatory Manual, authorized players refer to “any individual who is physically in a country other than the Philippines; this excludes Filipino citizens even if abroad and individuals in territories where online gaming is prohibited.”

Even if a Filipino citizen wants to participate in POGO sites, he wouldn’t be able to. All POGO gaming websites are blocked in the Philippines (or they should be). The rules are clear in Section 3 of Regulation 2 that the operator “shall not allow its gaming website to be accessed within the territory of the Philippines or in territories where online gaming is prohibited” and “shall not allow placing of bets and paying of winnings to occur within the territorial jurisdiction of the Philippines.”

Any violation of the rules and regulations set by PAGCOR will result in POGOs having their licenses revoked.

It’s hard to not spot the irony of the entire situation: These POGOs are allowed to operate in the Philippines yet their services can’t be accessed in the country and are forbidden to Filipino citizens.

If Filipinos aren’t allowed to play on their platform and we can’t even access their sites, why do we let them stay? It’s because they make us money, and lots of it.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue said they would start collecting withholding taxes from POGO workers starting this month. This means that if everyone in the industry paid the correct amount, the government will be able to collect P2 billion in one month, and P24 billion in one year. POGO workers will also need to pay their dues to the Social Security System and Pag-IBIG Fund.

Some POGO’s was already shut down due to tax violation and many Chinese nationals, including those wanted for investment scams, gambling den workers, and illegal overstaying aliens.

The reason why we have to be really concerned is that these Chinese workers are using our public transportation, sharing government services, etc. And worst these people weren’t even paying a single centavo of tax would be hugely unfair for the hardworking Filipinos who shed their every sweat to pay them all up.

But the question now why is Duterte silent on this issue? Some experts speculate that this could be Duterte’s strategy in keeping warmer ties with China brought about by the release of billions worth of infrastructure projects.

A lot more Chinese nationals are being hunted by the Bureau of Internal Revenue and I hope this is being taken seriously by the government. Next time they should carefully plan their actions so we don’t need to deal with it. But now, we are dealing with all these trouble illegal Chinese caused this country and not paying taxes.

A lot of Filipinos might blame president Duterte for welcoming these Chinese and establishing a relationship with Chinese president Xi Jinping over the US. His decision made me worry but at the same time I still want to trust Duterte because I think he is a smart guy. Many Filipinos have a fear that China might take over the country and think that Duterte is selling the Philippines and are afraid that the country will become a communist state and might lose its democracy. But on the other hand there are Filipinos who see China as a friend, there will be more opportunities for Philippines economic growth rather than working against China. This relationship is the new direction that Duterte is attempting to take and I want to see what this new path has in store for the Filipino people.

Philippines have a lot of issues to China. Too many to mention actually. The issue about the West Philippine Sea alone has a lot of information. And president Duterte is doing his best to fix the relationship between the two countries, I’m not a pro Duterte but ever since he was elected, he never fails to amaze a lot of people including me. He made decisions that might ruin his name but still he choose to do it anyway. I remember when he said that he eats death threats for breakfast. Many politicians hate China, thus when the Philippines and China signed agreements many politicians became his enemy. But I think leaders such as Xi Jinping and Rodrigo Duterte are clever enough to handle the situation between the two countries.

As for the trade tensions between the United States and China, they are not likely to have an effect on the Philippines’ economic growth. It seems as if Donald Trump is jealous about other nation and its citizen’s hard earned economic success and he wants America to be number one. United States under Trump became unstable, unprofessional and undiplomatic while China is a professional and stable trade partner.

Chinese people might be rude here in the Philippines but their people are doing a great job in doing business.


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