MANILA, Philippines — 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).
In an interview with “The Chiefs” aired on Cignal TV’s One News Tuesday night, 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.
“That is the reason why we came up with these POGO hubs. These will be self-contained communities (so we can limit the) interaction between Filipinos and foreign workers,” Tria said.
“As soon as… the private participation is able to set up these hubs, we will be canceling all their authority to operate outside these hubs. We will put them there so it is easier to monitor,” he added in a mix of English and Filipino.
The POGO hubs would have safeguards, including the establishment of government offices inside these communities for monitoring, according to Tria.
Agencies that will have offices include the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bureau of Immigration and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).
Tria said local government units may also set up offices in these hubs, particularly local police offices, to ensure security.
Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Andrea Domingo had earlier announced that it approved the establishment of two POGO hubs in Clark, Pampanga and Kawit, Cavite, to be operated by offshore gaming firm Oriental Game.
However, the current & proposed new POGO sites are strategically near AFP military bases:
Chinese POGO in Taguig is adjacent to Fort Bonifacio HQ
Chinese POGO in MOA is adjacent to the Philippine Navy HQ
Chinese POGO in Pasay is adjacent to Villamor Air Base
Chinese POGO in Island Cove Cavite is adjacent to San Felipe Naval Base
Proposed Chinese POGO in Grande & Chiquita island is adjacent to the Subic Bay Port which host visiting US ships & carriers
CHINESE INFLUX TO THE PHILIPPINES
rom cash registers accepting WeChat payments to street corner stalls selling “taho,” the number of Chinese workers in the Philippines is growing, sparking a legislative inquiry and a reminder from President Rodrigo Duterte to approach the influx with “caution.”
The foreigners, some working in offshore gaming operations, are employed for their Chinese-language skills, something Filipino workers can’t match at the moment, officials said.
Roughly half of the 169,000 Alien Employment Permits issued by the Department of Labor and Employment in the last 3 years went to Chinese nationals and a third of which are in support services, including offshore gaming, Labor Sec Silvestre Bello III told a Senate hearing on Feb. 21.
Thousands of Filipinos could be kicked out of China if the Philippines is not careful in handling the influx of Chinese workers, said Duterte, who rebuilt economic and diplomatic ties with Beijing.
“Yung mga Chinese dito, hayaan mo ‘yan, nandito magtrabaho hayaan mo. Bakit? We have 300,000 Filipinos in China,” he said in a speech on Feb. 23.