The decision to ban online gambling in the Philippines is up to the country itself, said Manila’s top diplomat in a televised briefing on Thursday.
President Rodrigo Duterte arrived into China’s capital on late Wednesday and met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday.
Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana said that Duterte was “prepared” to respond to the Chinese president should he raise the issue of online gambling during their meeting.
“He [Duterte] will say it’s legal in the Philippines,” said Romana in a briefing.
China earlier called on the Philippines to ban online gambling, with concerns of a growing amount of illegal workers employed in the POGO industry.
“They can’t dictate on us. That’s our sovereign decision. That is where we stand,” Sta. Romana said.
The ambassador said that “the Philippines is taking steps to regulate” online gambling in the country, but could not ban it, adding that it would have economic implications in the country.