My Observations: Even during quarantine, the Chinese connection still caused problems in Parañaque City

Months ago, I wrote that the City of Parañaque became a hot spot for crime incidents involving Chinese nationals and that the said city had more of such incidents than its neighboring cities here in South Metro Manila.

And then the coronavirus disease COVID-19 struck the world and this resulted community quarantine here in the Philippines which was recently extended into mid-May. Under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), most businesses were halted, mass gatherings were prohibited and people were told to stay at home so that the risk of infection would be reduced. The authorities have been struggling with testing people for COVID-19 while local government units (LGUs), including barangays, have been working to manage their respective communities and perform services like distributing relief goods to families, implementing curfew, etc.

Even though the ECQ has been implemented for over a month now, there were still problems in Parañaque City caused by Chinese nationals. I’m talking about the illegal online gaming operation involving 44 Chinese nationals (with 23 Filipinos) and illegal clinics and a stockroom filled with medicine from China.

Let’s start first with the illegal online gaming operation that was found in Mayuga Compound, Barangay Tambo with details from the Manila Bulletin report.

Excerpt: Forty-four (44) foreign nationals and twenty-three (23) Filipinos (fourteen female and nine male) engaged in an illegal online gaming operation were arrested by the combined team of the Regional Special Operation Unit, Southern Police District, and the Parañaque City police Friday night.

Police said that the suspects were arrested at about 7:30p.m. along Mayuga Compound, Barangay Tambo, Parañaque City.

The police said that prior to the arrest of the suspects, members of the RSOU received a telephone call from a concerned citizen who reported that a group of armed foreign nationals were seen outside their residence violating the curfew hours imposed by the city government while the country is under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Upon receiving the information, members of the RSOU immediately coordinated with the SPD and the Parañaque City police for the arrest of the suspects.

The police said that verification was made and they found the group of foreign nationals with firearms visibly tucked in their waists loitering around the said place.

The suspects, upon seeing the approaching policemen, immediately ran inside their house. A chase ensued that led to the discovery of the illegal online gaming operation of the suspects.

Police recovered cash amounting to more than P1.3-million, 255 Chinese Yuan; 73 Chinese passports; two .45 caliber pistols; two .9mm pistols; nine internet modems, 40 cellular phones; 17 pairs of keyboard and mouse; 36 different brands of laptop computers and assorted computer cables.

Wow. That’s such an operation. How exactly was it set up so discreetly? Was the apartment owner aware that the rented place was turned by the foreigners into an illegal business operation? Also when exactly did the Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO) of Parañaque City discover the first details about the illegal online gaming operation? Was Barangay Tambo even aware of the illegal operation?

As a result of the arrest done by the law enforcers, the ball is now up to the Bureau of Immigration to decide whether to deport the 44 Chinese nationals or not. Whatever their decision and no matter how long the investigation will take, it is clear that this incident made the City of Parañaque look bad.

To put things in perspective, Parañaque is the hot spot of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Metro Manila with 414 cases as of April 26 and the City Government and the barangays have been struggling to prevent the spread of infection while managing the communities. As seen many times on social media, pictures of many people crowding the public wet markets (palengke) in the city showed clear violations of social distancing. As such, the fear of a possible COVID-19 outbreak in Parañaque is entering more people’s minds.

Next, let’s take a look at the illegal clinics and the stockroom filled with Chinese medicine with details from CNN Philippines’ report.

Excerpt 1: Authorities raided two illegal clinics and a medicine stockroom in Parañaque City on Sunday night.

Among those seized in the stockroom in Barangay Baclaran in Parañaque was a large shipment of medicine for respiratory illnesses allegedly being used as a possible treatment for the coronavirus disease. There is no confirmed cure yet for COVID-19.

They found many more boxes of medicine and medical supplies from China in the stockroom, such as boxes of dextrose and medicine ranging from antibiotics, anti-viral drugs, and medicine used for treating sexually transmitted diseases.

“They have all kinds of medicines. Na-amaze ako kasi puro injectables silang lahat,” says Paranaque City Health Officer Dr. Olga Virtusio. She adds, “Kakaunti ‘yung oral meds, madami ding through IV (intravenous) fluid.”

[Translation: I was amazed because most of the medicines I saw were injectables. There were a few oral meds, but there were a lot of IV fluids.]

Meanwhile, some types of medicine sold by the two illegal clinics are a herbal supplement is used as a traditional Chinese treatment for colds, fever, cough, and sore throat and a non-prescription drug for flu and respiratory illnesses.

“The team is thinking na most probably they are really catering to the POGOs around, especially noong nagkaroon tayo ng massive routing of the different clubs at madaming nakitang prostitution. Mostly chinese ang nahuhuli,” the doctor added.

Authorities said they acted on a tip from a disgruntled worker from one of the illegal clinics. The owner of one of the clinics allegedly took her quarantine pass. As a result, the helper informed officials of what she called a “hospital” catering to mostly Chinese patients.

Excerpt 2: After the city government closed down the place, authorities found another similar clinic just a few blocks away.

Police found a Chinese man claiming to be a doctor in the second clinic. He did not speak on camera but presented what he claimed to be his doctor’s license in China.

The local government said they are finding out who owns this clinics and the stockroom.

Charges will be filed against the owners for violating quarantine laws, medical regulations, and for operating without necessary permits. The confiscated boxes of medicine will be turned over to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for testing.

Two illegal clinics that most likely served Chinese nationals located just a few blocks away from each other…could those two be connected with each other? As for the medicine imported from China, I wonder if they were cleared by the officials of customs. When exactly did the City Health Office led by Dr. Virtusio become aware of the illegal clinics? Did anyone from Barangay Baclaran notice the anomalies within their territory?

With these cases combined – the illegal gaming operation and the illegal clinics – I wonder if there was any bribery involved in establishing the illegal operations, how much the local authorities knew about their existence, and how exactly are Parañaque officials dealing with Chinese nationals who really had no intention to follow local laws.

It is fortunate for law enforcers that a disgruntled worker from one of the illegal clinics tipped them while a concerned citizen did the right thing by calling them about the presence of foreigners who were armed with guns. What exactly were those guns for, personal protection or as a means to threaten the local community’s members?

Whatever is happening behind the scenes with these two recent developments, what is clear is that Parañaque is still a hot spot for illegal activities involving Chinese nationals and the connection with mainland China. How the local authorities will deal with them is a big question mark.

You the reader might want to ask yourself: Are Chinese nationals already setting up Parañaque to be a key location for a future military invasion by mainland China?


For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.

Thanks for reading!

Parañaque City a Hot Spot for Crimes Involving Chinese Nationals

If there is anything that defined the City of Parañaque lately, it’s not about city competitiveness (Parañaque failed again), not about economic breakthroughs and not even about achieving excellence on local governance (Parañaque was not declared a winner of the DILG’s 2019 Sea of Good Local Governance award).

Rather, it’s about crime turning rampant within the jurisdiction of Parañaque, more specifically the high number of crimes involving Chinese nationals.

According to a December 27, 2019 Philippine Star report, Parañaque has the 3rd highest number of crimes involving Chinese nationals among the southern cities of Metro Manila. The number is 140 crime incidents recorded as per the statistics of the Southern Police District (SPD) as of December 25, 2019. Ahead of Parañaque were Pasay City (201 crime incidents) and Makati City (163 crime incidents).

Specifically on South Metro Manila, Las Piñas City had 54 crime incidents while Muntinlupa City had 19 crime incidents. Combine those numbers with Parañaque’s 140 crime incidents, then that’s a total of 213 crime incidents for South Metro Manila.

You must be wondering why is it that the city that is home to a significant portion of BF Homes subdivision attracted a great majority of of the 213 crime incidents involving Chinese nationals for South Metro Manila?

For one thing, there is a high number of Chinese nationals who took residence in Parañaque and got involved in the local commerce. Speaking of commerce, a lot of these POGOs (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators) opened up and operated within the city. The City Government recently considered filing charges against the owners of buildings housing Chinese nationals who are working at these POGOs. The housing of many Chinese nationals caused a social disruption in the community of Multinational Village  for the past two years. This caused Multinational residents to write letters of complaints regarding diminishing water supply, power transformer blowouts, eroded roads and rising security risks that allegedly were connected with the Chinese nationals residing in their local community as well as the construction of new POGO housing facilities.

By the way, there are casinos and hotels operating in the Entertainment City which is within the jurisdiction of Parañaque. Those facilities are known to attract a lot of Chinese nationals along with other foreigners.

Focusing more on crimes involving foreigners from China, there was a prostitution raid in Parañaque this past September.

Here’s an excerpt from the CNN Philippines report:

The raid in Diamond Tower in Baclaran also led to the arrest of 13 alleged den maintainers or recruiters of sex workers, nine of whom are male and four who are women, plus 18 male Chinese customers.

And then there was the Chinese affair involving kidnapping that also took place in Parañaque. Here’s an excerpt from the report of Business Mirror:

The Philippine National Police-Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) rescued a Chinese national and arrested two kidnapping suspects during a police operation in Parañaque City.

PNP-AKG Director Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo identified the victim as tourist Wang Hong, alias Lee, 29, married, native of Chongqing, China, and who is temporarily residing at Strata Gold Condominium, Ongpin Street, Binondo, Manila.

The suspects, on the other hand, were identified as Wan Rehong, 32, native of Qingshanhu District, Nanchang City, China, and Wan Liang, 36, native of Jiangxi, China. Both suspects are tourists.

Estomo said that in the sworn statement of Wang, the victim went to Solaire Resort and Casino on December 4 and gambled. When he lost all his money, a group of Chinese men offered him a loan of P1 million, which he accepted.

The group lent him another P1 million as capital, but he lost again, prompting the group to take the key of the car that he borrowed from a friend and asked him to go with the suspects.

The two suspects took him to Okada Hotel and Casino, and while inside a room, they forced him to make a letter stating that he borrowed from them P2 million and forced him to sign the letter.

On December 8, at around 2 p.m., Wang and the two suspects boarded a taxi wherein he managed to send a message to a friend that they are billeted at Room 505 of Baymont Hotel in Parañaque City.

While inside the room, the kidnappers instructed him to ask money from his family or friends for him to pay the P2 million because, if not, “they will kill him and be thrown at cemetery.”

The victim’s friend notified the PNP-AKG about the incident that prompted operatives to launch a rescue operation which resulted in the arrest the two suspects.

As mentioned earlier, Parañaque City is a hot spot of crime incidents involving Chinese nationals and clearly this is bad. Nobody wants to live in a city with rampant crime (kidnapping, extortion, prostitution and the like) nor does anyone want to see their community turn bad because a lot of foreigners from China working in POGOs were allowed to take residence.

The hot questions to ask here:

1) Is the City Government really tough against crime in general?

2) Are POGOs and other businesses that target Chinese nationals as employees and consumers too tempting for the City Government to reject and were allowed to be part of the local economy and communities?

3) Were the business permit applications of those POGOs and businesses targeting Chinese nationals carefully reviewed by the Parañaque Business Permit & Licensing Office (BPLO) before being approved?

4) Are there any police officers in Parañaque who accepted bribes from Chinese nationals and the POGOs to look the other way and let them do their illegal activities?

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments.

 

 

 

 

Philippines is the BEST in Southeast Asia in Triathlon!

December 1, 2019 will be remembered for a very long time here in the Philippines specifically with regards to the followers and enthusiasts of the multisport of triathlon (swim-bike-run) as the Philippines won two gold medals and two silver medals of the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) triathlon events for men and women held at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. As I write this, the triathlon victories continue to generate buzz around the nation through social media and the news media.

Specifically, John Chicano won the gold in the men’s triathlon (1.5 Km swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run) with a time of 1 hour, 53 minutes and 26 seconds! Literally speaking, he upgraded from the silver medal he won in the 2017 SEA Games (2nd to then gold medalist Nikko Huelgas) to gold medal. The silver was won also for the Philippines with the 2nd place finish of Cebu’s prized triathlete and 1st time SEA Games participant Andrew Kim Remolino who clocked in at 1:55:03. Indonesia’s Muhammad Ahlul Firman won the bronze after coming in at 1:57:10.

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Philippines’ Andrew Kim Remolino and John Chicano won the silver and gold medals of the 2019 SEA Games men’s triathlon event at Subic Bay on the morning of December 1. (source – 2019 SEA Games Facebook page)

Among the ladies, the event of which started around 2 hours after the men’s race stated, Marion Kim Mangrobang proved once again she is Southeast Asia’s best female triathlete as she won her 2nd SEA Games gold medal with a time of 2:02:00. The Santa Rosa, Laguna native now has a grand total of three SEA Games medals. She won a silver in the 2015 SEA Games (Claire Adorna won the gold back then) and her first gold medal in the 2017 SEA Games (Adorna meanwhile got the silver).

Mangrobang’s teammate Kim Kilgroe won the silver medal finishing 2nd with 2:05:02. She said to the reporters that she felt so great and happy with her achievement. Like Remolino, this was her first SEA Games performance.

The women’s triathlon bronze medal went to Indonesia’s Nethavani Octaria who finished the race in 2:16:33.

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Kim Mangrobang of Santa Rosa, Laguna won her 2nd straight SEA Games women’s triathlon gold medal! She previously won a silver medal in the 2015 SEA Games and the gold in the 2017 SEA Games. (screenshot of CNN Philippines video)
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Teammates Kim Kilgroe (silver medal) and Kim Mangrobang (gold) during the awarding ceremony. (screenshot of CNN Philippines video)

Notable details

Chicano’s gold medal performance was very notable given the fact that his time of 1:53:26 is noticeably faster than the 1:59:30 Nikko Huelgas achieved in 2017. In an ABS-CBN report, coach Melvin Faustino said that Chicano previously timed 1:56:00 and they were aiming for 1:55:00. Of course, things turned out even better with today’s race and Faustino claims that the 1:53:26 time Chicano achieved is a Southeast Asian record for men’s triathlon.

For the newcomers reading this, the Standard Distance (AKA Olympic Distance) for triathlon is set at 1.5 Km swim – 40 Km bike – 10 Km run. This is the same distance of triathlon implemented in the Asian Games and the Olympics.

For her part, Kim Mangrobang stated to the reporters that her achievement was meant to inspire youth to get into sports and also contribute to the growth of triathlon here in the Philippines.

With the single-day haul of two gold medals and two silver medals in the two SEA Games triathlon events, the Philippines got boosted in the medal standing. Medal competition aside, rewards from the national government will follow soon.

According to Section 8 of Republic Act Number 10699 (RA 10699 or “AN ACT EXPANDING THE COVERAGE OF INCENTIVES GRANTED TO NATIONAL ATHLETES AND COACHES, APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR, REPEALING FOR THE PURPOSE REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9064”), SEA Games gold medalists who won in individual events will be rewarded P300,000 each while the silver medalists will receive P150,000 each.

Gold medal victory in Mixed Relay (December 2, 2019)

The triathlon glory continued for the Philippines on December 2 when the team composed of Chicano, Mangrobang, Claire Adorna (2015 SEA Games gold medalist and silver medalist in 2017) and newcomer Fer Casares won the gold in the Mixed Relay triathlon event of the SEA Games.

Thank the Lord for His blessing of victory!

Let me stress to all of you reading this that these major victories of the Philippines in the SEA Games would not have been possible with God’s blessing.

Before the two triathlon events happened, I made a public call to viewers on my official Facebook page to pray for the SEA Games victories of not only the Philippine triathlon team but also the duathlon team. I also reached out to my church mates to pray as well.

And the Lord answered our prayers! The blessings in the form of twin gold and twin silver medal victories of the two triathlon events plus the gold medal of the mixed relay team triathlon event of the SEA Games prove that the Philippines is the best in triathlon in Southeast Asia and take note that the next SEA Games won’t happen until the year 2021. Apart from being congratulated by many, gold medalists Chicano and Mangrobang, and silver medalists Remolino and Kilgroe will be remembered for many years to come not only among the triathlon enthusiasts of the Philippines but by Filipinos in general and among people all over Southeast Asia!

On her official Facebook page, Kim Mangrobang acknowledged the Lord!

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When it comes to victory, God is the source of it apart from the blessings, opportunities and progress He provides to His creations who are faithful to Him. The Lord rewards the faithful abundantly and there is no denying that!

In closing this, here is a scripture from the Holy Bible.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Philippians 4: 13 (NKJV)

For continued triathlon and multiport updates, come back here.


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