Philippines Gaming regulator PAGCOR has moved to address concerns over the establishment of two dedicated gaming hubs to house Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) and their Chinese workers, claiming they are intended to protect those living inside.
The response comes after the Chinese Embassy in the Philippines released a statement late last week expressing its concerns over the proposed transfer of Chinese workers to the self-contained hubs, located in Clark and Cavite, and warned against the illegal inducement of Chinese citizens to gamble either online or in Philippines land-based casinos.
Issuing a statement of her own, PAGCOR chair Andrea Domingo said, “We value and protect the rights and safety of foreign workers in the country in as much as we want the rights and safety of Filipino overseas workers to be valued and protected.
“These hubs were conceptualized to respond to and address the concerns which PAGCOR management has received over the two years since it has regulated the offshore gaming industry.
“With [POGO workers] hosted in specific sites, PAGCOR and other relevant government agencies can readily address all their concerns and protect them from harassment and harm.
“Moreover, when PAGCOR refers to these hubs as ‘self-contained communities,’ it does not imply any restriction on the personal rights or liberties of the workers. They are free to go wherever they may want to, do whatever they may want to, within the limits of the law.”
The Chinese Embassy had last week reiterated the government’s stance that “any form of gambling by Chinese citizens, including online-gambling, gambling overseas, opening casinos overseas to attract citizens of China as primary customers, is illegal.
“The (POGOs) and other forms of gambling entities in the Philippine target Chinese citizens as their primary customers. A large number of Chinese citizens have been illegally recruited and hired in the Philippine gambling industry.”