Duterte backs POGO hubs

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte supports the idea of hubs to contain Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators as long as worker rights are not violated, according to local media reports.

“We will support it as long as there is no violation. We have to protect all the nationals staying in the country,” Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo was cited as saying at a news conference at the Palace.“If their liberties are not restricted and, according to them, they’re doing it to protect them, so if that’s the essence of the place, I don’t think that will be a violation,” he added.

Panelo said there will only be a violation of the rights of the workers if their “liberties and movements” are restricted. “But if they say there’s no restriction, that’s favorable for the Chinese,” he said.

The idea of the creation of two hubs to house the mushrooming number of Chinese POGO companies prompted a warning from the Chinese embassy in Manila that the rights of its workers were being threatened.

The statement urged Manila to protect its citizens, who are being poorly treated and even killed, it said. China also warned it’s that it is illegal to target Mainland China with gambling services and that it will crackdown on online gambling. 

The issue is expected to be addressed at an upcoming meeting between Duterte and China’s President Xi Jinping.