Justice secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla reported that 281 illegal employees will be deported as soon as October 1.
The Philippines.- The Philippine government has announced that starting from October 1, it will deport 281 Chinese citizens who were illegally employed by online gambling operators. Justice secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the Chinese government will validate their identities as part of their protocol before repatriation.
The announcement comes after a meeting between Remulla and Chinese Ambassador Zhou Zhiyong was convened to enhance cooperation between China and the Philippines to combat crimes associated with POGOs. The Philippine government intends to crack down on illegal POGO workers.
Remulla has estimated there are about 40,000 illegal online gaming workers in the Philippines and previously warned senators that if the government has limited resources to be able to accommodate them if they are all detained.
He told CNN Philippines: “The 40,000 was arrived at because there are 200 illegal POGOs, approximately, on the list given by PAGCOR. If each of them has 200 workers, to be viable, then that’s 40,000 people already.”
Remulla said the government will also review reports of online gaming operations not on the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) list.
In recent weeks there have been different opinions about the continuity or not of the POGOs in the country. Remulla said he is in favour of preventing undesirable aliens from entering the country and added he supports reforms in the system, continued regulation of legal POGOs, and strengthening border controls.
Senate majority leader Joel Villanueva has introduced Senate Bill 1281 seeking to ban all types of online gaming in the Philippines, including POGOs and PIGOs (offshore and domestic betting and wagering). If the law is passed, anyone who engages in online gambling could face jail time and a fine of up to PHP500,000 (US$8,700).
Villanueva argued that “the consequences of gambling and online gambling are too serious to ignore. The cost of gambling is no longer limited to the loss of money, but extends to the loss of value and life.”