PHILIPPINE Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) Chairperson Andrea Domingo walked back proposals to relocate Chinese offshore gaming workers to “self-contained hubs,” saying that such communities will have ample amenities for residents and will be “safe” with no restrictions on their movement.
A PAGCOR vice president, Jose S. Tria, Jr., had proposed to relocate the online gaming firms, which are known by their regulatory classification as Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), to designated hubs.
The proposal drew a sharp rebuke from the Chinese embassy, which said such hubs could violate the rights of Chinese citizens working in the Philippines.
“When we refer to POGO hubs as self-contained communities, what we mean is that these hubs will have all the basic needs of the foreign employees of POGO,” Ms. Domingo told reporters in a text message.
Ms. Domingo said the hubs will serve as a “protection” for foreign workers while still allowing them to exercise their personal rights and freedoms.
“Nonetheless, they are free to go anywhere they want to without any limitation on their personal rights or liberties. The hubs are in fact being established for the protection of the foreign workers,” she said.
“The Chinese Embassy expresses its grave concern over such potential move by PAGCOR, which may infringe on the basic legal rights of the Chinese citizens concerned,” the Chinese Embassy said on its website.
“They will no longer be exposed to crimes being committed against them on the streets, they are assured of good working conditions and decent living quarters, and will be given their proper visas as there will also be other relevant government agencies setting up offices at the hubs,” she added. — Beatrice M. Laforga