Immigration bureau blacklists HK columnist, ‘Chip Tsao’

THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) has banned from entering the country Hongkong journalist Chip Tsao whose recent column in a magazine drew widespread condemnation from Filipinos for calling the Philippines a “nation of servants.”

The BI reported Tuesday that Commissioner Marcelino Libanan issued a blacklist order placing Tsao in the immigration blacklist for being an undesirable alien.

“This is our manifestation of disgust against the racial slur and insult committed by Mr. Tsao against us as a people,” Libanan said in a statement after announcing the issuance of the order against the Hongkong journalist.

The BI head also chided Tsao for his “arrogance and disrespect to the country and the Filipino people.”

The BI chief said Tsao would only be removed from the blacklist if he makes a public apology, adding that he would even offer to personally tour the Hong Kong columnist around the country “to show him that the Philippines is not a ‘nation of servants’ but a nation of professionals.”

Atty. Floro Balato Jr., BI spokesman, said that by being included in the BI blacklist, Tsao is now banned from entering the country and immigration officers nationwide have been ordered to send him back to his port of origin the moment he steps on Philippine soil.

The BI’s action against Tsao was precipitated by an online column entitled “The War at Home” which he wrote on March 27.

He stated with over 130,000 Filipinos working as domestic helpers in Hong Kong, the Philippines could not claim the Spratlys, which is being claimed by several countries, including China.

“As a nation of servants, you can’t flex your muscles at your master, from whom you earn your bread and butter,” Tsao wrote.

He protested the Philippines’ assertion of sovereignty on the Spratly Islands, which he said “belonged to China.”

Migrant and labor groups, politicians and other organizations have demanded that Tsao and the magazine’s publisher and editors publicly apologize for the article.

Some also want him declared as persona non grata in the Philippines.
Press Secretary Cerge Remonde described the tongue-lashing a Filipina maid received from her Hong Kong employer arising from the Philippines’ claim over the Spratley Islands as “reprehensible.”

Reports said that the Filipina maid was verbally abused by her employer, a magazine columnist, and threatened that she would not get paid unless she made it a point to tell her fellow Filipina maids that the Philippines made a mistake in claiming that the contested Spratley Islands is part its territory.

In a radio interview this morning, Remonde said Malacanang will look into the Hong Kong columnist’s abusive outburst.

“Reprehensible yang ginawa ng mamamahayag na iyan. Tingnan natin kung ano ang dapat natin gawin diyan,” Remonde said.

“We should not be provoked by just one columnist,” he added.

Remonde pointed out that President Arroyo’s vision is to create local jobs so that Filipinos need not seek employment abroad and be subjected to such abuses.

He said the President has a standing order to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to closely monitor the number of Filipino overseas workers (OFWs) who have lost their jobs in Taiwan, China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a result of the global financial crisis.

“The DOLE should get the names and addresses of these displaced OFWs for forwarding to the Cabinet member residing in their respective areas so that they can be assisted in whatever form and be given priority in employment,” Remonde said.

The government is creating one million jobs this year, half of which will be hired under the emergency employment program of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and 180,000 jobs from the 1.5 percent compulsory savings from the budgets of government agencies earmarked for job creation.

“We have enough emergency employment opportunities for our displaced OFWs and even for those currently unemployed here,” Remonde said. Philippine News Agency

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