PAGCOR authorizes partial resumption of POGO ops

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has given the green light to POGO operators to partially resume operations in the country, with the intention of helping the national government raise the necessary funds to battle the coronavirus pandemic. 

PAGCOR Chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo said the reopening would be structured in a way as to not breach the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), which applies across parts of Luzon and Metro Manila. 

This includes allowing only 30 percent workforce per shift in authorized operating sites, provision of shuttle services for employees from their places of residence to their offices; temperature checks upon entry at the office premises; practicing social distancing, proper sanitation and disinfection, and wearing of mask at all times, among other important guidelines to curb the infection.

Those reporting back to work will undergo COVID-19 testing, and must obtain a negative test result from a testing facility duly-registered with the Food and Drugs Administration. 

Employees who have confirmed COVID-19 cases, including those suspected of having the virus, will not be allowed to work, as well as those with immune-compromised and vulnerable conditions. 

Domingo added that POGOs have been ordered to strictly adhere to all of PAGCOR’s prerequisites including the 1) updating and settlement of all their tax liabilities, as certified by the Bureau of Internal Revenue; 2) updating of their payments for any regulatory fee, license fee, performance bond or penalties due to PAGCOR; 3) remittance of regulatory fees for the month of April; and 4) must pass the readiness to implement safety protocols before being allowed to reopen. 

“Even with the partial resumption of POGO operations, we will put a premium on the safety of their employees, and the gaming industry as a whole. While we recognize their huge contributions to nation-building and their great viability as a funding source in these difficult times, we still have to practice extra precaution in striking a balance between health and economic benefits,” Domingo explained.

PAGCOR said the decision to resume POGO operations will preserve the employment of 31,556 Filipinos who were directly hired by the industry.