MANILA - Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto on Sunday warned businesses to follow the city's laws as he hailed the removal of immigration personnel who took bribes for the entry of Chinese nationals to work in offshore gaming companies in the Philippines.
Sotto urged the Bureau of Immigration to coordinate with the city government so it can "help in catching and deporting these illegal workers and businessmen." He also encouraged the public to report errant government employees.
"If you want to do business in our City, YOU FOLLOW OUR LAWS," the mayor wrote in a Facebook post of photos showing the closure of a restaurant.
"Sa mga sumusubok o susubukan palang gamitin ang pangalan ko para makipag negosasyon sa mga POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators), tigilan niyo na. Wala nang maniniwala sa inyo. At sa mga empleyado ng City Hall, 1-strike policy tayo dito."
(To those who will attempt to use my name to negotiate with POGOs, stop. No one will believe you. To City Hall employees, we have a 1-strike policy here.)
The "pastillas" bribery scheme was revealed in a Senate inquiry last week by opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros, where a Chinese national who enters the Philippines as a tourist pays a grease money of P10,000, rolled in a bond paper, to work in POGOs. The name of the modus was taken after the Philippines' milk candy delicacy, which is also wrapped in paper.
The money is divided among immigration personnel and Chinese and Filipino travel agencies.
There are roughly 138,000 Chinese workers in the internet-based POGO business, according to the initial estimate of an inter-agency task force.