Coronavirus lockdown: Mayor tells POGO workers to stay home

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 20 2020 10:45 AM | Updated as of Mar 20 2020 11:54 AM

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MANILA -- Bacoor Mayor Lani Mercado on Friday urged workers of online gambling hubs to follow a lockdown of Luzon to curb the novel coronavirus.

Several Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) are located in the neighboring towns of Kawit and Imus, and some of their mostly Chinese workers rent apartments and houses in Bacoor, said Mercado.

Some workers in Manila POGOs also live in Bacoor, she said.

"Ang amin pong lungsod ay nagiging tulugan po ng POGO [workers]. Mayroon pong galing Maynila na nagugulat po kami na pumupunta po ng Bacoor samantalang mayroon naman pong mga bahay, hotel, apartelle sa Maynila," she told DZMM.

(Our city is used as the sleeping quarters of POGO workers. Some are from Manila and we are surprised that they go to Bacoor, even though there are houses, apartelles in Manila.)

"Bakit po sila nakakapasok po, napunta po dito sa amin samantalang I gave instructions already na 'pag kayo po ay taga-Maynila e doon na po kayo sa Manila. 'Wag na po kayong pumasok sa amin dahil extreme enhanced community quarantine na po kami," she added.

(Why can they enter our city despite my instructions that if you live in Manila, you should stay there and refrain from going here because we are already under extreme enhanced community quarantine?)

Local officials, she said, visited the POGO workers, checked their IDs, passport and body temperature, and advised them to "stay home", said the mayor.

The country's gaming regulatory body on Wednesday said it had suspended all POGOs and their service providers for the duration of Luzon's lockdown, set to last until April 12.

Bacoor has one confirmed COVID-19 case: a 48-year-old man with no history of travel abroad who was infected by a co-worker, said Mercado.

She said Bacoor classified Barangays Digman and Tabing-Dagat as "containment zones", from where entry and exit were banned.

Local officials distributed relief goods Thursday in these 2 areas, which would also have a soup kitchen staring Friday lunchtime, Mercado said.

Only one person per household is allowed to get food from the soup kitchen and they should bring their own containers, she said.

Nationwide, the health department as of Thursday confirmed 217 cases of COVID-19, including 17 deaths and 8 patients who recovered.