Labor groups on Friday demanded that special envoy to China Ramon Tulfo apologize to Filipino workers after he insulted their contributions to the country’s economy when he claimed that the influx of Chinese workers was because they were better employees.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said Tulfo’s characterization of Filipino workers was “uncalled for,” especially since they have been known worldwide for the “high quality of their work, ingenuity, diligence, creativity and hard work.”
“They are the most sought after type of workers compared to other nationalities. The Filipino workers’ dedication, diligence and creativity are known to have built the entire Middle East economies, most parts of Asia, and key parts of America and Europe,” TUCP president Raymond Mendoza said.
In a TV interview on Thursday, Tulfo said one of the reasons there was an influx of Chinese workers in the country was because companies preferred them over Filipino workers.
He said Chinese workers were more diligent, more focused at work and finish the job quicker.
For Mendoza, such a characterization was “offensive, insensitive and unpatriotic.”
“We urge Mr. Tulfo to immediately apologize to the Filipino workers and retract these statements before many would come to believe so,” he said.
In an interview with the Inquirer on Friday, Tulfo, however, refused to apologize for his statement, pointing out that he was merely “expressing an opinion” based on the feedback given to him by the private sector, especially those belonging to the construction industry.
Rather than criticize him, Tulfo said this should serve as a “wake-up call” to Filipino workers for them to improve their work ethic.
“Why is it that when a Filipino works abroad, he works harder than his countrymen in the Philippines. Why are OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) preferred in other countries but in our hometown [some] are not as efficient as their rivals, like the Chinese?” Tulfo said.
“That’s the Filipino enigma. Whenever we go to another country, we follow their laws to the letter but when we are in our country, we violate our laws,” he added.
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