Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte struck a rare moment of restraint this week when he urged his fellow countrymen to take it easy on Chinese nationals who are in the country working in the online gambling business. His words of caution came on the heels of raid in Pasig City that resulted in the arrest of 93 Chinese who are suspected of entering the country illegally to work in online gambling.

In a Tuesday press conference reported on by MSN.com, Duterte said that the Philippine people should not be too hard on Chinese gamblers workers who overstay tourist visas for gaming work because there are so many of their own people in China doing the exact same thing. “Remember that we have also exported the same problem to them…Remember that we have also exported the same problem to them.”

He went to suggest that the Chinese gambling workers be deported from the country saying, “But wala naman silang idineport (deport). So maybe you can just tell them to go home,” Duterte added. “Otherwise if you start to get rough on this issue, there is a distinct possibility that it will also happen to you. So you know when you sail your ship of state, you avoid turbulent waters.”

Of course when Duterte says, take it easy and Oh, just deport them what he’s really doing is sending a message to his supporters that’s more like, please don’t subject them to the same sort of vigilante justice that you’ve been laying on suspected drug dealers and users for the past few years. Since Duterte took office in 2016, more than 10,000 people have died in extrajudicial killings aimed at the illicit drug industry.

Duterte’s rare note of restraint towards the online gambling industry may also have something to do with the fact that he recently met with Chinese President Chinese President Xi Jinping. The outcome of that meeting was an upgraded trading partner status for the Philippines.


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