Philippines: POGOs to be moved out, confined to hubs

  • Chinese nationals working in Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGOs) will be transferred to “self-contained” communities or hubs that will limit their interaction with Filipinos, according to an official of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).
  • Pagcor vice president for offshore gaming Jose Tria said these POGO hubs would address complaints of Filipinos over the reported unruly behavior of some Chinese workers.
  • In the same interview, Tria said the government has increased its collection from offshore gaming operations from a mere PHP56mn in the previous administration to more than P7bn in 2018.
  • He said the increase was due to changes in regulatory mechanisms, as he noted that POGO was previously managed by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) and not Pagcor.
  • Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on 7 Aug 19 reported that the DOLE is hiring more labor inspectors in the coming years and deploying them to areas where most POGOs are operating.
  • In 1H19, Bello said DOLE has issued a total of 51,695 alien employment permits (AEPs). The figure was more than double or 143% higher than the number of AEPs issued during the same period in 2018.
  • He added that many of the AEPs were issued to foreign nationals employed in POGOs.
  • In a related development, Philippine visas to be stamped on Chinese passports will show the map of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and territorial claims, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
  • President Duterte on 5 Aug 19 approved Locsin’s proposal to stamp Philippine visas directly on passports of Chinese nationals who wish to enter the country instead of the practice adopted before of placing it on a piece of paper.

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