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Malacañang wants probe on ‘Chinese-only’ restaurants

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MANILA -- Malacañang on Monday said it will ask the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to conduct a probe on restaurants and other businesses which exclusively cater to Chinese nationals staying in the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made this reaction after Senator Panfilo Lacson called for a shutdown of these Chinese-only establishments which reject Filipino customers.

“We have to investigate first the truth of the report. We will ask (Labor) Secretary (Silvestre) Bello to conduct an investigation on the same,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

Lacson also asked the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to keep investors from China out of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) saying that Filipinos should be prioritized.

Panelo said the DTI will also address concerns on Chinese investors taking over SMEs.

“We will address that concern to the Secretary of the Department of Trade, to Secretary Mon Lopez,” Panelo said.

Senators Joel Villanueva and Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III also questioned the existence of the Chinese-only restaurants.

Panelo emphasized that the government will not allow this discrimination to happen since businesses should cater to all nationals.

“We have to investigate that if that is true. We cannot allow that to happen. They cannot be discriminating against Filipinos; it’s a public business and therefore it should cater to all,” Panelo said.

The Presidential Spokesperson, meanwhile, urged the public to file a complaint against business owners who insisted on entertaining only Chinese nationals.

“Better step or thing to do is to file a complaint. If you try to engage the owner or try to force yourself, you will only trigger a fight,” Panelo said.

He said local government units (LGUs) should also do their job and act on these complaints.

“If there is a complaint and they validate that it has violated the law then LGUs should do their job,” he added.

Earlier, Filipino netizens hit a restaurant in Alabang, Muntinlupa City called “China Food City” that prevented Filipinos from entering, claiming it served only Chinese workers working in online gaming companies.

Reports also showed an increase in the number of Chinese restaurants operating along Boracay Island which had menus written only in Chinese characters and personnel who were Chinese.

Amid criticism on the influx of Chinese workers in the country, Panelo assured that the government will apply immigration laws against foreigners who work in the country without permits.

Panelo said immigration laws will be applied with “full force” and that violators “will be dealt with strictly in accordance with the law.” (PNA)

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