Palace OK with Pogo hubs: ‘Basta walang violation’
MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang said Thursday it would support the proposed hubs for Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogo) as long as the rights of their workers are not violated.
“Basta walang violation. We will always support ‘pag walang violation. We have to protect all the nationals of any country dito sa ating bansa,” Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing Thursday.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) said it is planning to transfer online casinos to self-contained communities to provide the basic needs of foreign workers and ensure their protection.
The gaming regulator issued the statement after the Chinese Embassy expressed “grave concern” that Pagcor’s plans to establish Pogo hubs at Clark Freeport in Pampanga and in Kawit, Cavite, might violate the rights of Chinese workers.
It also asked the government to protect the “legitimate rights and interests” of Chinese citizens in the country, and tighten regulations on the industry credited with helping sustain the real-estate boom in the country.
Panelo also noted that the Palace would defer to the stand of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. that the influx of Chinese workers in the country constitutes a security threat.
“What is important I think is if there is any violation of immigration laws, then they will be subjected to the same,” the Palace official said.
READ: Pogo workers in their midst: Notes from an ‘invasion’
The number of Chinese nationals arriving in the Philippines has nearly tripled since 2016 with the majority of them working for Pogos.
Despite the economic benefits brought by the influx of Chinese workers, there has been a mounting fear that Chinese nationals are taking away job opportunities of Filipinos, evading taxes and committing crimes. /muf