Duterte says Philippines needs offshore gaming operations

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Duterte says Philippines needs offshore gaming operations
Duterte says the Philippines needs offshore gaming operations to sustain jobs for Filipinos (Image from Philippine News Agency)

President Rodrigo Duterte said that the Philippines needs offshore gaming operations to sustain jobs for many Filipinos, Wednesday.

Duterte said that he would continue to allow offshore gaming in the country despite China’s appeal to suspend its operation due to alleged abuse towards the Chinese nationals working here.

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The President said he made the decision because to “benefit the interest of my country.”

“I decide that we need it. Marami ang mawalan ng hanapbuhay (many will lose their jobs). Anyway it’s government-controlled,” Duterte told reporters at Malacañang press conference.

“At this time wala talaga ako magawa, marami ang nagugutom.” (My hands are tied. Many people are hungry.) he added.

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Offshore gaming operations suspended

Last month, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) suspended acceptance of applications for new offshore gambling firms or Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations.

This is after China called told the Philippines to track down and penalize gaming hubs which are illegally employing Chinese nationals. These illegally recruited nationals were reportedly victims of torture, extortion, and kidnapping.

“We expect to have a little bit of a problem, because of this crackdown. We have to assure them (markets outside Asia) that here, everything is up and above board,” said PAGCOR Chairperson Andrea Domingo.

As of today, there are about 138,000 Chinese workers employed in the POGO business, most of them are from mainland China.

PAGCOR reported that their agency collected around P4 billion POGO operations just for this year. They project their 2020 operation’s revenue to be between P9 billion and P10 billion.

Also read: Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines rejects arbitral ruling on South China Sea

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