Government probes claims of Chinese restaurants refusing foreigners

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Chinese restaurants
The gateway to Manila’s Chinatown. (There is no suggestion that any of the Claims of restaurants refusing to serve foreigners derive from this historic district.)

The government is launching an investigation into claims of Chinese restaurants and other businesses in the Philippines refusing to serve foreigners.

The Malacañang today (Monday, May 6) said it had ordered the Department of Labor and Employment to look into the allegations.

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Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo made the announcement after Senator Panfilo Lacson called for a shutdown of any Chinese establishments that turned away Filipino customers.

“We have to investigate first the truth of the report,” he said. “We will ask Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello to conduct an investigation.” 

Sen. Lacson has 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 prioritised.

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

“Business firms operating in the Philippines are not allowed to discriminate. Limiting customers to Chinese people only is a form of discrimination,” Sen. Pimentel said.

Mr Panelo emphasised that government will not allow any such discrimination to continue. “We have to investigate that if that is true,” he said. “We cannot allow that to happen. They cannot be discriminating against Filipinos; it’s a public business and therefore it should cater to all.”

Meanwhile, he urged the public to file a complaint against any business owners discriminating against them.

As we have previously reported, some Chinese businesses have been ruffling feathers on Boracay Island, with complaints of menus and signs being written exclusively in Mandarin. There are also allegations that non-Chinese tourists are being refused service and that Chinese employees are working without visas.

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