Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump attends campaign event at Windham High School in Windham, New Hampshire August 6, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Thayer(reuters_tickers)
MANILA (Reuters) - A Philippine lawmaker is seeking to permanently ban U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump from visiting the Southeast Asian nation after the billionaire called it one of the "terrorist nations."
Trump has no major business in the Philippines, but developer Century Properties Group Inc is building a $150-million Trump Tower, a high-rise residential building under licence from the American real estate mogul.
In a bill filed in Manila's House of Representatives, Congressman Joey Salceda said, "There is no feasible basis or reasonable justification to the wholesale labeling of Filipinos as coming from a 'terrorist state' or that they will be a Trojan horse."
Salceda was referring to Trump's comments at a rally on Thursday in Portland, Maine, in which he took another swipe at immigrants.
"We are letting people come in from terrorist nations. That should not be allowed because you can't vet them. There's no way of vetting them, you have no idea who they are. This could be the great Trojan horse of all time," Trump said in a clip of his speech posted to YouTube. (http://bit.ly/2aEP0S5)
"An immigrant from Afghanistan who later applied for and received U.S. citizenship, an illegal permanent resident from the Philippines were convicted from plotting to join Al Qaeda and the Taliban in order to kill as many Americans as possible," Trump said.
People of Philippine descent living in the United States number around 4 million, making up the second largest population of Asian Americans, Salceda said, citing data from the U.S. State Department.
A former reality TV star, Trump has won support particularly from white blue-collar U.S. workers who feel neglected by the political establishment. Along with his proposed ban on Muslims, his plans have included building a wall along the Mexican border to keep out illegal immigrants.
(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Manolo Serapio Jr. and Clarence Fernandez)