Government vows to run after illegal POGO recruiters

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 09 2019 05:25 PM

MANILA - The Philippine government vowed Friday to run after offshore gaming firms that illegally employ Chinese nationals here after Beijing blamed such operations for increased crime and social problems in China.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo assured China that the Philippines would go after illegal recruiters as he urged Chinese nationals allegedly experiencing poor working conditions in Manila to file complaints.

“Anything illegal we will run after them,” Panelo told reporters Friday.

“Definitely, it can be illegal (recruitment) if they do not observe the protocols imposed by our government,” he said.

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, China's embassy in Manila said in a statement Thursday.

Panelo maintained that “we will not allow any abuse committed by our countrymen against them (Chinese nationals).”

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua on Friday said Beijing had filed “more than dozens” of cases concerning Chinese nationals allegedly “maltreated” by gambling operators.

“We have filed more than dozens of cases involving victims, Chinese victims which are injured or maltreated by people operating the gambling businesses,” Zhao said.

Panelo said the complaints may have been filed in China since the Philippines has yet to receive any. He, however, noted that he has yet to speak with the Chinese envoy on the matter.

“What I was saying yesterday, we urge this so-called victims of whatever violations they feel they have been subjected to to file complaints so that we will know how to respond,” Panelo said.

Philippine Ambassador to China Chito Sta. Romana said the Chinese embassy's call brought to public eye a joint crackdown on crime by Chinese and Filipino authorities.