Duterte: China to keep 'hands away' from POGO regulation

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 13 2020 12:53 PM

Phil-Asian Gaming Expo features offshore games targeting bettors outside the Philippines. Games can be played on desktop or mobile devices. Photos taken at the SMX Convention Center. July 12, 2019. Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte said China assured him that it would not meddle with the Philippines' policy on offshore gaming operations as more Chinese nationals seek work in the industry here.

Beijing "understands" Manila's law enforcement system, Duterte told ABS-CBN News, recalling what Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian told him in a recent meeting.

"And the ambassador said that if you must do it because the law is the law. And that if there is a need to deport, arrest, then they're keeping their hands away from all these things," the President told ABS-CBN News' Ted Failon.

The Philippines has the "prerogative to do what you want to enforce the law." Duterte quoted the Chinese envoy as saying. "In fairness to the Chinese government, they understand," he added.

Chinese law bans its citizens from engaging in "any form of gambling" including online and those that are based overseas but cater to Chinese nationals.

Some forms of gambling, however, are legal and regulated in the Philippines.

"If you add more to this number presently operating, you will not be able to police them all. So, you have to set a number for that. It cannot be in every town and city about so many POGO games going on," Duterte said.