The Philippines government has promised to crack down on illegal recruiters for Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGOs), said Malacañang on Friday.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the comment just a day after the Chinese embassy called on the Philippines government to “punish” POGO operators who have been illegally recruiting Chinese citizens.
“Anything illegal, we will run after them,” Panelo told reporters in Quezon City.
“It can be illegal if they do not observe the protocols imposed by the government,” he said.
Last week, the Chinese embassy raised concerns over the welfare of its Chinese nationals working in the POGO industry, calling the work conditions of some Chinese nationals “modern slavery.”
The embassy alleged that Chinese workers had their passports taken away or confiscated while others were subjected to “extortion, physical abuse and torture as well as other ill-treatment.”
The Chinese government also expressed “grave concern” over PAGCOR’s POGO hubs concept, saying that moving thousands of Chinese citizens to “self-contained hubs” might be a violation of their rights.
PAGCOR, however, said the plan was meant for the welfare and protection of the 138,000 Chinese nationals working in the POGO industry.
“The hubs are, in fact, being established for the protection of the foreign workers,” Pagcor Chair and CEO Andrea Domingo said in a statement.
“They are no longer 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,” Domingo said.