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5:57 pm on 11 October 2022, Tuesday
By Patricia Francia Lachica
Chinese Ambassador to PH Huang Xilian confirmed that the Philippines is now included as one of the blacklisted tourist destinations of China after the increase of linked crimes to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).
Senate President Migz Zubiri said he spoke to the Chinese Ambassador to PH Huang Xilian and revealed China's stand against POGOs.
"Mr. Senate President, in our country a lot of people have died, committed suicide, who are in jail now for theft and robbery because of payments that have to made to POGO Operators operating in other countries particularly to the Philippines," said Chinese Ambassador to PH Huang Xilian to Senator Zubiri.
The ambassador explained that several countries, including Cambodia and the Philippines, remain harmed due to the crimes committed by POGOs.
Further, the Chinese government does not know if Chinese nationals will vacation or gamble in POGOs. Hence, the blacklisting of China to the Philippines.
The Philippine senators are also set to discuss whether POGOs should remain in the country or not after several crimes and kidnappings were linked to foreign nationals involved in POGOs.
Moreover, Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian said they are restraining Chinese tourists to not visit the Philippines due to POGO operations.
Empathy, fairness to POGO workers
Meanwhile, House Committee on Labor and Employment chair and Rizal 4th District Representative Fidel Nograles urged the government to "practice empathy and fairness" in dealing with workers of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators.
This follows as the Bureau of Immigration is in the progress of deporting some 480,000 illegal POGO workers.
“We have to achieve balance in our policy, and practice empathy and fairness toward the illegal POGO workers who have come here to find employment. Tandaan natin na marami rin tayong kababayan sa ibang bansa na inihihingi natin ng maayos na pagtrato, ” Nograles said.
(Let's remember that we also have many countrymen in other countries that we ask for proper treatment)
The lawmaker also reserved judgment on "whether POGOs should be dismantled or allowed to stay in the Philippines," which primarily affects the livelihood of thousands of Filipinos employed in the sector.
Before jumping to conclusions, all stakeholders must be given a chance to air their side, according to Nograles.
“Masyadong masalimuot ang isyu na ito para magpasya agad. Pakinggan muna natin kung ano ang magiging benepisyo sa bansa, o kung magiging perwisyo ba, kung may pag-asa bang maayos at mapasimple ang polisiya, saka tayo gumawa ng desisyon na ikabubuti ng bayan natin,” he added.
(This issue is too complex to decide on immediately. Let's first hear what will be the benefit to the country or if it is a nuisance. If there is any hope that the policy will be fixed and simplified, then let's make a decision that will improve the country)
The Association of Service Providers and POGOs (ASPAP) reported that its member firms employ "23,118 Filipinos, 11,766 direct hires and 11,342 indirect ones, on top of the 17,130 foreign nationals who are legally employed in the gaming sector."