Senator Joel Villanueva backed President Rodrigo Duterte on the latter’s call to shut down all online gambling operations in the country.
In a social media post, Villanueva said he is supportive of the president’s call because “gambling promotes greediness.”
Villanueva made the statement at the height of the extortion try by resigned immigration associate commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles on Chinese online gambling tycoon Jack Lam as settlement for the release of the arrested Chinese illegal workers.
According to the Bureau of Immigration, 612 of the 1,335 Chinese nationals arrested had no work permits, 95 were overstaying, while 91 had no passports or travel documents.
A Senate inquiry by the labor committee which Villanueva chairs further showed that there are other economic zones which do not impose a limit on the number of foreign workers employed by firms within their area.
Villanueva cited the Cagayan and Clark economic zones as among those which do not have that requirement.
It was found out during the hearing that Clark Development Corp. (CDC) admitted it knew of more than 1,500 foreign workers for the firm Next Games, which was registered as a business process outsourcing firm but was actually into gaming business as a service provider for a company operating overseas.
Only 11 Filipino workers are employed by Next Games, Villanueva said.
“Not only do these operations promote gambling but they also take advantage of our economic zones. Weak regulations allowed the illegal entry of foreign workers. Filipino workers do not benefit from these operations,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva said he will file a bill that require companies in economic zones to allot 80 percent of the jobs for Filipino workers.
”Ecozones are there to create jobs for Filipinos in exchange for tax incentives. However, it is currently being exploited by some locators who would bring in foreign workers, some of them illegal. I do not see any value in giving incentives to locators who do not hire Filipino workers,” Villanueva said.
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