DOLE: Less than 100 Pogo firms in operation during COVID-19 lockdown
MANILA, Philippines — Less than 100 Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogo) firms have remained in operation during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown as the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) enforce stricter requirements for the issuance of alien employment permits (AEP).
“Prior to COVID-19, we have more than 200 Pogos operating nationwide particularly in the NCR (National Capital Region). During the ECQ (enhanced community quarantine), if we look at the numbers of Pogo establishments, it is less than a 100,” Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay said on Wednesday in an online forum when asked to react on the closure of Pogo firms during the health crisis.
Tutay also attributed the decreased number in Pogo operators to the stricter requirement for its continued operations, which include the need to secure a clearance from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) when applying for an AEP. An AEP is one of the requirements needed to allow foreign nationals to work in the Philippines.
“If you recall nagkaroon ng IATF (Inter Agency Task Force) decision na kailangan nila ulit ng clearance from Pagcor. What we did at department level, tuloy-tuloy ang acceptance ng application for alien employment permit, but what we did, we required Pagcor clearance prior to issuing alien employment permits for Pogo industry,” Tutay said.
Pogo operations were suspended last March 15 due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last May 1, some licensed Pogo firms were allowed to partially operate by the Pagcor provided that the establishments will follow strict health protocols.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.