Gatchalian: No categorical statement from Chinese envoy PH will be blacklisted anytime soon
MANILA, Philippines — There is no categorical statement from Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian that the Philippines will be “blacklisted anytime soon” by China for hosting Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos), Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said on Thursday.
Gatchalian was among those present when Huang paid a courtesy call to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri last Monday.
“Just to be fair, at least in my appreciation, he never categorically said that: ‘O the Philippines will be blacklisted anytime soon.’ He never said,” he said on ANC’s Headstart.
Zubiri earlier told a Senate hearing Tuesday that the Philippines has been included in China’s blacklist of tourist destinations, citing their conversations with the ambassador.
The Chinese embassy later issued a statement, saying, “The report of ‘tourist blacklist’ is misinformation.”
“China has not placed the Philippines on its blacklist for tourism,” the embassy said.
Gatchalian believes it was a simple case of misappreciation.
“Again, it’s a simple case of misappreciation. I don’t think we should blow this up,” he said.
“To be fair also, the courtesy call was very cordial. We were laughing, we were also serious at one point. It was very cordial.”
Gatchalian recalled that when they were discussing about Pogos, Huang explained that their law is very strict against betting, working and investing in online gambling businesses because of growing cases of suicide and people “getting very indebted.”
“And then he (Huang) went to go on saying that in order to prevent their citizens from engaging in online gambling business, whether working or investing, they implemented a blacklist and he made an example of Cambodia,” he said.
Asked if he would consider Huang’s statement a warning to the Philippines, Gatchalian said, “I didn’t feel that it was a warning…”