BI: Chinese arrests not linked to sea row

Posted at 08/22/2014 10:39 AM | Updated as of 08/22/2014 12:23 PM

MANILA - The Bureau of Immigration on Friday said the recent arrests of more than 50 Chinese nationals working illegally in the Philippines are not connected to the ongoing territorial tensions with China in the West Philippine Sea.

In a report in the South China Morning Post, a spokesperson for the immigration bureau said the investigations are merely part of the bureau's regular work.

China had earlier complained of the detentions with the Chinese embassy in Manila demanding that Filipino authorities handle the case swiftly and treat the Chinese nationals fairly and properly.

The 55 Chinese had been picked up in raids across Manila and are said to have been working without the necessary permits.

BI spokesperson Atty. Elaine Tan said the arrests came shortly after an anonymous source gave the bureau information about the existence of several foreigners working in construction sites and retail establishments illegally.

Tan reveals these raids are part of the bureau's on-going campaign to curb the number of foreigners suspected of working in the Philippines without the proper work permits.

The operations were conducted in construction sites in Quezon City and Malabon and in a retail establishment in Manila.