'Filipinos' safety first': Hontiveros wants Chinese 'criminals' deported

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros has called for the deportation of Chinese "criminals" to protect Filipinos, as crimes linked to the growing Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) industry surfaced.

"Deport these criminals. Filipinos' safety comes first," Hontiveros said in a statement on Wednesday, March 4.

Hontiveros made the call after marathon Senate hearings on POGOs revealed the Bureau of Immigration's bribery scheme and the "suspicious" entry of at least $447 million in the country. Philippines.

"Klarong-klaro na napakarami nang kriminal na nakapasok sa bansa ngayon (It's crystal clear that a lot of criminals have entered the country), no thanks to our corrupt BI officials," Hontiveros said. (READ: With a monthly salary of P12,000, BI security guard's net worth is P7.8 million)

"They welcomed these criminals with open arms and set up and enabled this ‘pastillas’ system to persist," added the senator, referring to the bribery scheme at the airport.

On Tuesday, Hontiveros reiterated her stance that the POGO industry "brings in crimes." (READ: POGOs linked to crimes: Forged PH passports, money-laundering, sex trafficking)

"Hulihin na ang mga blacklisted, ang mga sangkot sa money laundering, at anumang krimen (Arrest those who are blacklisted, those involved in money laundering, and any crimes). They need to be deported immediately," Hontiveros said.

The Chinese Embassy on Wednesday night said that crimes committed by Chinese in the country were "isolated incidents." 

The embassy said China is willing to "continue to strengthen communication and cooperation" with the Philippine government.

"Individual illegal and criminal cases involving Chinese citizens are only isolated incidents and cannot represent the whole picture of China-Philippines relations," the Chinese Embassy said in a statement.

"The China-Philippines relations have maintained a good momentum of development, which serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples. China is willing to work with the Philippines to push the comprehensive strategic cooperation to a new level," it added. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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