Members of the Bohol Chamber of Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) have expressed concern over the lack of regulation in the employment of foreigners in the province, citing inaction from concerned government agencies on the issue.
Norris Oculam, a member of the BCCI’s board, during a board meeting on Friday last week, said that even local government units (LGU) remained “ignorant” on policies involving the employment of foreigners.
He suggested for the LGUs to include the process of checking if establishments have complied with requirements needed for the hiring of foreigners during the issuance and renewal of business permits.
The BCCI also plans to issue a “primer” noting down regulations in the employment of foreigners to LGUs to serve as one of the guidelines in issuing business permits.
“Naa man guy kultura nato na og mo-atubang ta’g foreigner, tan-aw nato na superior sila nato, so naay intimidation factor whereas og naay hawiran na primer, gibutang didto ang balaod, ipakita, e-cite didto na mao ni requirement namo before ka mahatagan og permit then ma-guided sila,” said Oculam.
For his part, Atty. Lucas Nunag, also a BCCI member and chairman of the Provincial Tourism Council, called for a workshop which will be joined by LGUs and concerned government agencies regarding the issue.
Nunag pointed out that some industries require a “proper visa” and two permits for a foreign national to be employed legally in the country.
Guidelines of the Labor Department’s Order No. 186, Series of 2017, require foreign nationals to secure an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) to “legally engage in gainful employment in the country.”
In cases that the employment is in a nationalized or partially nationalized industry, foreign nationals must be accorded an Authority to Employ Alien from the Department of Justice through their employer.
Nunag said that AEPs are issued to foreigners under contract with a Philippine-based business after it is determined that the job cannot be done by a Filipino.
“Hilinglan og mo employ ka og foreign national kinahilanglan highly technical lang, dili mahimo management…The idea is dili ka maka-displace og Filipino investor ug worker, so technical lang. Kanang dili sila makakita og Filipino na maka-fill up sa position usa ka maka-employ og lain,” he added.
He cited restaurants and dive shops in the province, particularly in Panglao, which have been employing foreigners including Chinese, Koreans, Japanese and even Europeans.
According to Nunag, illegal employment of foreign nationals is not isolated in Bohol as it is also an issue in other provinces particularly in other known tourist destinations.
“Mura ta’g mo pioneer ani kay other tourism destinations wa pa man g’yud nakahimo ani,” he said. “So ang chamber pud sa national if we can engage, make them aware there is this issue na we are sure is an issue elsewhere.”
Nunag lamented that while Filipinos are subjected to stringent screenings and required a slew of documents to gain employment abroad, the country remains lax in the implementation of policies involving the employment of foreigners.
“The sad part is, og kitang mga Filipino mogawas mo subay man g’yud ta sa tanang balaod nila. Mas law-abiding pa ta kaysa mga locals,” he added. (A. Doydora)