By Corina Oliquino

MANILA –Records from the Bureau of Immigration (BI) showed the influx of Chinese nationals in the Philippines resulted into them topping the list of foreign violators in 2019 with the Bureau arresting 2,257 erring foreigners in various operations from January to December.

Of the arrests, at least 1,577 were Chinese, followed by 66 Taiwanese, 45 Myanmar nationals, 25 Indian and 19 Vietnamese.  The BI Intelligence Division collared 1,836 of the foreigners while the Fugitive Search Unit nabbed 421.

“Some of those arrested were not only illegally working here. They were also suspected of involvement in terrorism while others are wanted fugitives,” BI acting Intelligence Chief Fortunato Manahan Jr. said, noting majority of the Chinese nationals arrested were either illegally staying in the country or engaging in cyber fraud activities or operating unauthorized on-line gaming.

Chinese nationals also found to be top violators of local ordinances in Boracay

In a report by CNN Philippines, data from the Boracay Tourism Regulatory Enforcement Unit showed that Chinese nationals listed a total of 739 violations from January to April, including 150 violations listed in January, 248 in February, 207 in March and 134 in April.

Korean nationals were next on the list, recording 277 violations followed by locals with 92 violations.

The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force, on the other hand, said the number of ordinance violators already decreased when authorities enforced discipline and strict regulations on the island.

The task force has also formed a committee which will look into permits and licenses of establishments on the island as residents claim Chinese-run businesses only post signage in their local language, and that Chinese guests have been prioritized in restaurants.

“We’ll be advising the restaurants that when they open a restaurant, it should be for the general public and nobody should be driven away from entering such establishment unless they do not want to pay,” Interior Undersec. Epimaco Densing said.

In another report by The Philippine Daily Inquirer, records from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) showed a spike in the number of foreign nationals arrested in Metro Manila over the last three years, with at least 806 foreign nationals arrested in 2018 as compared to just 660 in 2017 and 745 in 2016.

“Karamihan dun yung nagwawala sa bar,yung malicious… Nagwawala parang minor offense,” NCRPO Chief Major Gen. Guillermo Eleazar told in a phone interview, citing a 2018 incident involving the arrests of eight Chinese men by members of Pasay City Police following a bar brawl.

The report also noted that Chinese nationals topped the list of arrested foreign nationals in Metro Manila, with 333 arrested in 2018, 190 in 2017 and 170 in 2016, with Eleazar pointing to the influx of Chinese nationals into the country following a spike in arrests.

Chinese lang on-line gambling lang ang dami. Iba ang mukha kausapin mo [at] hindi sila Filipino-Chinese,” Eastern Police District Chief, Brig. Gen. Christopher Tambungan told, noting Chinese nationals are arrested “almost every day” by police in the southern area of Metro Manila.

Grave offenses dito involving them [Chinese] abduction, kidnapping for ransom. ‘Yung magpapautang sila tapos ‘pag ‘di nagbayad i-de-detainnila yung may utang sa kanila,” Cruz added.