By Filane Mikee Cervantes

(PNA file photo by Yancy Lim)

MANILA – A House leader on Tuesday filed a resolution seeking a congressional inquiry into the issuance of special resident visas and the delayed registration of births as possible avenues enabling the influx of Chinese nationals in the Philippines.

In filing House Resolution 1771, Deputy Majority Leader and ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Erwin Tulfo said the processes for granting the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV) and Special Investor’s Resident Visa (SIRV), in addition to the late registration of births, should be assessed as these could serve as channels for foreign nationals to enter the Philippines, stay indefinitely, and even maintain employment.

He said around 30,000 Chinese nationals were allowed to permanently reside in the country despite not meeting the age requirement for the retiree visas.

“Based on the Immigration Bureau records given to us, of the 78,000 foreigners issued retiree visas, 30,000 are Chinese. What is puzzling here is that they are yet to reach retirement age but they are on retiree visa. They are just aged 35 to 50,” Tulfo said in an interview.

He said possible circumvention of the laws through these existing policies undermines the Philippine authorities and aids in the perpetration of illegal activities in the country committed by foreign nationals.

“It is imperative to assess the impact of the SRRVs, SIRVs, and delayed registration of births which may have contributed to the influx of Chinese nationals to ensure that such policies align with our national interests and security,” he added.

Tulfo further said the influx of Chinese nationals has raised concerns regarding the socio-economic impact, including but not limited to labor market dynamics, national security, and public order.

Several crimes were linked to the Chinese influx, including human trafficking, scamming, kidnapping, illegal detention, prostitution, and other fraudulent practices, he added.

“Recent raids of POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators) establishments also resulted in traces of criminal activity and the discovery of offices, dorms, villas, and lifestyle facilities within such hubs, indicating prolonged presence and actual living situations within supposed business establishments,” he said.

Tulfo also highlighted the case of suspended Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo, pointing out the potential risks for abuse in the process of delayed registration of births.

He said these could have long-term consequences, including ultimately allowing non-nationals to participate in various social, economic, and political activities, such as running for or holding public office, reserved only for Filipino citizens.

Guo, whose identity and citizenship have been placed under scrutiny, was placed under a six-month preventive suspension without pay by the Office of the Ombudsman on May 31 following the administrative complaints of the Department of the Interior and Local Government for grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

Authorities have raided POGO firms in Tarlac and Pampanga in the past four months over alleged “scamming activities” and other serious concerns, including national security. (PNA)