Get real
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 10 August 2019


At the beginning of July, or last month, Sen. Leila de Lima immediately raised a red flag (no pun intended) when she read that a Chinese-Filipino had bought the former Island Cove Resort off Kawit, Cavite, and was transforming it into Pogo-land, or Pogo Island. No, Reader, this is not the Pogo Island of Nintendo fame. Pogo is the acronym for “Philippine offshore gaming operator,” a more-deadly-than-games entity.

“For now, it’s just 32 hectares, but this could be the start of a possible colonization if they decide to purchase and occupy more lands in different parts of the country. Mas malala pa ito sa ginawa nila sa West Philippine Sea kapag nagkataon,” De Lima stated in a press release.

And two or three weeks later, behold, we learned about two other islands that had been subject of agreements made between Chinese “investors” and the government as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Fuga Island off Cagayan—one wonders what former senator Juan Ponce Enrile has to say about it; and Grande (and Chiquita) Island off Subic. What prescience De Lima had. Fuga is about 10,000 hectares, which makes Pogo-land look like a grain of sand, and Grande is definitely larger than Pogo-land.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson calls these two projects “suspicious,” and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has also cast doubts on them in the name of national security. Thank the Lord there are people who are thinking of the Philippines as a whole, and whose brains are definitely larger than the pea-brained idiots who thought of the projects. Where have the latter been all this time, sleeping? How could they possibly ignore the implications? As the saying goes, it is hardest to wake a man who is pretending to be asleep.

But Senator De Lima, you were not accurate when you said the Pogo deal “could be the start” of a possible wave of Chinese colonization. It has already started. Two and a half years ago, at least.

How do I know, Senator? What is my basis Is it just kuro-kuro? No, ma’am. Here are the statistics—from official records. So, to the extent that there are a lot of Chinese illegals, they are not covered by this story. In 2012, Alien Employment Permits (AEPs) issued to Chinese versus Koreans (the two largest sets of nationals) were 4,934 versus 4,095. There were roughly 20 percent more Chinese with AEPs. Come 2015, the AEPs to Chinese rose to 9,114, or almost 85 percent more than in 2012. The Koreans AEPs issued were actually less than those issued in 2012.

The data above are only from the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole). Apparently the Bureau of Immigration (BI) also issues permits—Special Working Permits (SWPs). I have data only for 2017 and 2018, and these show that SWPs issued to Chinese almost quintupled in that period, from 15,500 to 75,400. It seems the BI gave out more permits than the Dole. Hmmm.

So, in 2018 alone, almost 110,000 Chinese were given permits to work. Apparently, almost all in the Pogo business, because I have noted only one Chinese infrastructure project being implemented, while Pagcor admits to granting 55 licenses to Pogos although “only 50” are in operation. Wow. An industry which is outlawed in China is given the royal treatment here. One would think China would be running after these people or asking this administration to extradite them to China for prosecution. As one acquaintance put it, they all look like they are military-age.

Doesn’t that sound like colonizers, actually? That sounds like an invasion. I don’t know what those offshore gaming workers do, but it doesn’t sound like they are an asset for the Philippines. More like liabilities.

President Duterte, I beg you. Please don’t enter into new agreements with the Chinese until the unresolved issues between our two countries have been ironed out. We Filipinos don’t trust them. The world apparently doesn’t trust them, either.