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Brothers and sisters, it is of great wonder for many of us that perceive the apparent preferential or special treatment given by our government to foreigners from China.

The latest proof of this was the release of the swab test results conducted on the Chinese, which were included in the test results of 490 workers for a tenant in Clark Freeport in Pampanga. Their inclusion with those who received early results was discovered when the Philippine Coast Guard or PCG released the list of repatriated overseas Filipino workers that were found negative for Covid-19. Many of our fellow Filipinos who came home from different countries wondered when they saw the list that includes foreign names. It was also revealed that the results of the foreigners’ swab tests were processed only within four days, while other OFWs that have stayed in quarantine facilities are still waiting for their results so they will be able to go back to their families.

Conducting swab tests for the Chinese nationals occurred after the authorities discovered a “makeshift medical facility” in a resort in Clark that was reportedly treating foreigners with Covid-19 infections. The said facility was illegal, and it exposed to danger other people in the resort who are unaware of the existing yet hidden hospital. Since there weren’t any lawsuits filed by the police against the two Chinese nationals running the illegal hospital, they were eventually released as if nothing happened. Aside from the fact that no one was held accountable for the illegal hospital conducting a dangerous operation, the foreigners were even using our testing kits and our own health workers in conducting these tests for them, while the Department of Health moves too slowly in testing our medical frontliners and others who need to undergo tests, like the returning OFWs.

If what happened in Clark is not infuriating enough, the operations of POGOs or Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators continue amid the ongoing quarantine even if POGOs are not included in the list of essential sectors. The government itself, specifically the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., provided the POGOs with substantial exemption from the ECQ policies. The palace also defended POGOs against critics. They explained that POGOs are part of the business-process outsourcing sector. The BPOs were already allowed to operate, and there is one POGO in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone that denied an inspection team of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, which wanted to check that POGOs aren’t continuing their operations. And let us not forget what the BIR said, that almost all POGOs aren’t paying their taxes.

It is wrong to say that we must not allow foreigners to enter our country, including the Chinese, but we must make sure they are following our laws and policies. This means that there shouldn’t be any special treatment for them. If they disobey the law, they must be held accountable. If they are evading taxes, they must be made to pay. Therefore, the special treatment foreigners receive must be exposed, especially those violating the rules. As said in the book of Proverbs 29:2, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.”

Brothers and sisters, according to the Pacem in Terris, society will not develop if there aren’t any leaders who bet on and ensure to address the interests of all. Which begs the question, what will our nation achieve if only the interests of some are being prioritized?

Make it a habit to listen to Radio Veritas 846 Ang Radyo ng Simbahan in the AM band, or through
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www.veritas846.ph, and follow its Twitter and Instagram accounts @veritasph, and YouTube at veritas846.ph. For your comments, e-mail [email protected].

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