By Mario Casayuran
Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian on Monday said China should strengthen its professed friendly ties with the Philippines by addressing pressing issues, including cutting off the flow of illegal drugs from its shores to the Philippines.
‘’Ang China sinasabi nila gusto nila maging kaibigan natin. Illegal drugs almost 90 percent ng nahuhuli galing sa China,’’ Gatchalian said. (China said it wants to be a friend of the Philippines. Almost 90 percent of Illegal drugs seized in the Philippines from the China.)
‘’Sana tulungan tayo labanan ng illegal drugs, tulungan tayo dun kasi di matatapos ang problema natin tulungan tayo sa issue na yun,’’ he said. (We hope China would help us in our fight against illegal drugs. If not, the problem of illegal drugs would fester in the country.)
In a related development, Gatchalian also noted that China continues to be silent on the inflow of Chinese workers in the country.
Labor officials had expressed fears that these Chinese workers are getting jobs intended for Filipinos.
During the Marcos years that saw the acceleration of foreign-funded infrastructure programs, only highly technical jobs that could not be done by Filipinos were set aside for foreigners.
Gatchalian noted that China is not lifting a finger on this issue.
The labor problem arose from the entry of tens of thousands of Chinese citizens who were employed in the Philippine
Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) and triggered the increase in the rental and supply of condominiums.
‘’E-assert natin at tulungan din tayo dahil kung di tayo magtulungan di mawawala yan, magtulungan tayo para mahinto ang issue,’’ he said. (The Philippine government should assert its right on this labor issue. If there is no bilateral effort on this subject matter, the issue will not be resolved.)
Chinese laborers are also expected to come into the country as the Philippine government embarks on China-financed”Belt and Road’’ initiative in the country.
These billions of pesos worth of infrastructure program raised questions on the high interest rates imposed by China on the Philippines.
Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate economic affairs committee, said that China’s interest rate on its loans to the Philippines is comparable to the rate charged by the World Bank but is higher than the interest rate charged by Japan.