The Philippine Star

Among millions of visitors naturally are some villains


Millions of Chinese arrivals in the Philippine­s boost peopleto-people ties, but the few villains among them blow the trust. The baddies range from minor offenders to hardened kidnappers, narco-traders, and swindlers. Naturally hospitable Filipinos unwittingl­y get entangled or victimized.

Last year 41 Chinese were nabbed for kidnapping for ransom a Singaporea­n woman. On investigat­ion the suspects turned out also to have abducted a Hong Kong woman and a Chinese man. More Chinese nationals were nabbed for illicitly detaining compatriot­s for gambling debts. The loan sharks preyed on casino losers, offering quick but high-interest loans. Unable to pay, the debtors were hogtied in hotel rooms until distraught relatives in the homeland raised the money. Victimized, a former card dealer from Macau by luck was abandoned by her captors in a hospital after being tortured. The PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group reported in 2017 to be monitoring about 1,200 such Chinese loan sharks and Filipino runners. Chinese Filipino NGO Movement for Restoratio­n of Peace and Order had helped report or rescue 19 kidnapped Chinese last year. There were 11 cases in 2016. Filipino drivers, bodyguards, and interprete­rs were implicated in the heinous crimes.

Same in narco-traffickin­g. As authoritie­s crack down hard on drugs, Chinese syndicates pay big for Filipinos to aid and abet the smuggling, storage, and distributi­on. The 605 kilos of shabu worth P6.4 billion that Customs belatedly seized in 2017 reportedly was only 15 percent of the contraband from Xiamen. Two of the five drug lords operating from the national penitentia­ry are life termers for kidnapping. They are among the main corruptors of prison officers.

This is not to say that vile Filipinos do the Chinese visitors no harm. There’s a snake in every forest, the Tagalogs say. Also last year five active-duty and sacked cops were arrested in separate kidnapping­s of a Chinese investor and a tourist.

About 3.12 million Chinese entered the Philippine­s from 2016 to May 2018. Of the total, 2.44 million came from Mainland China, and the rest from Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan, the Immigratio­n bureau told The Star. Chinese arrivals surged to 1.38 million in 2017, from 1.02 million in 2016. In the first five months of 2018 alone Chinese visitors reached 717,638, a 56-percent rise from the same period last year.

Not only are they tourists, but also garment and gadget traders, online gaming techs, and agribusine­ss prospector­s. The businesses are legit, if under the radar. The ambassador­s of Beijing and Manila have agreed to ease entry restrictio­ns for mutual benefit. Still, some Filipinos view the Chinese influx with distrust. A senator is seeking an inquiry into the rise in Chinese migration and how jobs can be taken away from Filipinos.

Immigratio­n officers barred entry to 764 Chinese in Jan.-May 2018, for unsubstant­iated capability to sustain staying in the Philippine­s. Yet bad eggs manage to sneak in. Swindlers, some wanted by Chinese lawmen, reportedly have been duping not only compatriot­s but also helpful Chinese Filipinos. Crooks even deal in real estate, although foreigners are barred from owning land in the Philippine­s. A modus operandi is to use Filipino partners, sometimes quickie brides, as fronts, then take the money and run, leaving the latter holding the empty bag. Filipinos simply must beware.

* * * Richard Fadullon is now officer-incharge Prosecutor General, vice Jorge Catalan, who will refocus on his old Makati city prosecutor role. Fadullon’s designatio­n, by Justice Sec. Menardo Guevarra, warmly was welcomed. It is also well deserved. A career civil servant, Fadullon was senior deputy to two Prosecutor Generals, and had risen up the ranks as assistant, state, then senior prosecutor. He now heads over a hundred state lawyers of the National Prosecutio­n Service.

* * * Congratula­tions to Fr. Franz-Josef Eilers, SVD. He was awarded for transforma­tive leadership by the Asian Media, Informatio­n, and Communicat­ion Centre. Long based in Manila, Father Eilers has written several books, including a 632-page commented edition of all official Vatican documents on social communicat­ion from 1936 to 2014. The distinctio­n was given to Father Eilers in AMIC’s 26th annual conference in Karnataka, India.

* * * Congratula­tions too to the 2018 graduates of the University of the Philippine­s College of Law, and their proud parents. That includes Timothy John Baluyot Jimenez, son of Timor-Leste Honorary Consul Amando Jesulito and Veronica Baluyot Jimenez.

* * * Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8-10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM).

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