More POGO workers leave Subic Bay

More POGO workers leave Subic Bay

About 85 per cent of the Chinese workers hired by POGOs in the freeport area have been retrenched since March. 

The Philippines.- More Chinese workers are leaving Subic Bay, the special economic and freeport zone as Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) shut down operations.  

Chinese workers employed by POGO firms here have gone from 1,500 four months ago to less than 500 at present. A report from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) predicts a further drop. 

SBMA Business Group estimated about 85 per cent of the Chinese workers hired by POGOs in the area have been retrenched since March.  

SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma said: “As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect POGO establishments, we can expect more Chinese workers here to be repatriated. 

“The declaration of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine last March continued to affect POGO operators, thus [they] were losing money.”

SBMA says that one of the four POGOs located in the free zone, Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp, closed and sent its 368 Chinese workers home in June after losing Php106 million (US$2.18 million).  

The remaining three POGOs in Subic Bay have made cutbacks, the Philippine News Agency informed. 

Teleempire reported 242 Chinese workers in September 28, down from 409 in July.  Northfolk Information Technologies listed 225 Chinese employees last July but has whittled that down to 100 as of September 28.

Finally, Ekxinum has reduced its Chinese worker complement from 231 active visa holders to 42. 

Eisma said she does not expect POGO operators in Subic Bay to resume operations soon. 

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