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Getting our acts together vs nCoV

Aside from opening the city  to risks posed by the novel Coronavirus (nCoV), the rising number of Chinese POGO workers is presenting dilemmas on local peace and order, a former lawmaker said.

District 2 Coun. Winston ‘Winnie’ Castelo lamented over the mounting complaints against  the rude behavior of POGO employees from China  since online gaming operations were allowed in the locality.

“It’s sad to note that these Chinese nationals are the subject of complaints from many of our constituents who had bad experiences with them,” Castelo said. Many of the complaints, he added, also indicate they often willfully violate city ordinances.

He said that while POGOs help improve the local economy, he cannot allow the industry to grow at the expense of public safety. “Let’s suspend hiring in POGOs or there will be breakdown in law and order,” he said.

Castelo’s pronouncements came amid reports of sex  trafficking, rape, kidnapping and other crimes in the POGO industry allegedly perpetuated by Chinese nationals.

Prior to this, reports also  suggested that many Chinese POGO workers had criminal records in their places of origin. Hundreds of them were already sent back by the government to China.

Despite this however, crimes involving Chinese nationals persist in the Philippines, Castelo said.

Earlier, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) was urged to suspend the hiring of new Chinese employees for POGOs  to protect the public from nCoV.

It is believed that Pagcor should immediately refrain from accepting new Chinese workers for the POGO industry if we are to prioritize public health.

The lives of our people, currently threatened by the deadly disease from China, are far more important than the revenues we get from POGOs.

Chinese nationals currently dominate the  POGO industry, which last year contributed P6.2 billion in government taxes.

Pagcor earlier imposed a 10-day quarantine on all newly-hired and returning employees from countries with reported 2019 nCoV cases to support efforts against the spread of the virus.

But that’s not enough. Pagcor should be more strict by temporarily not allowing the entry of new  workers from China and other places found positive for the disease.

The Bureau of Immigration has already suspended the issuance of “visa upon arrival” or VUA to Chinese nationals while several Chinese schools in Metro Manila have suspended classes  to help control the situation. While there are no confirmed nCoV cases yet in the country,  many people in Metro Manila are now wearing face masks for protection.

That’s good because it only shows they are doing their part to fight the problem. Everyone of us should do so.  There should be synergy in the national drive to address this health issue as many Filipinos will be in grave danger if we don’t get our acts  together.


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