AMID fears the planned Chinese-manned Philippine offshore gaming operation (Pogo) hubs might spy on military camps in the country, Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte believes it is only natural for countries to spy on each other.
Duterte’s spokesman Salvador Panelo yesterday said that the Chief Executive had told him China can spy on the Philippines if it wants to without going near police or military camps as it can only use its technology.
“The President and I were talking about it yesterday and he was saying that you didn’t have to be near any military camp if you want to gather intelligence,” Panelo said “He (Duterte) said that considering we’re high tech now, even if they are far away from China if they want to spy on us, they can. In fact, all countries as he correctly said are spying on each other. Natural lang ‘yun eh,” Panelo added.
Panelo made the statement after Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Pogo workers could easily shift to spying activities.
Lorenzana had recommended that Pogos be moved away from the camps to hubs where finance and immigration authorities could monitor them, a plan already being pushed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).
Malacañang earlier said it would support the proposed hubs for Pogo workers as long as the rights of their workers are not violated.
The gambling regulator plans to establish Pogo hubs at Clark Freeport in Pampanga and in Kawit, Cavite, which is just three kilometers from a facility being used by the Philippine Air Force’s 15th Strike Wing and Philippine naval base Heracleo Alano in Sangley Point, a former US base in Cavite province.
Panelo said it is up to Pagcor and security officials to decide whether they will move the Pogo hubs elsewhere.