BI cancels visa of over 1,400 Chinese workers employed in illegal Pogo firms
MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration has already canceled the visas of over 1,400 Chinese workers employed in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (Pogo) companies that lack the necessary permits and documents from the government.
DOJ Assistant Secretary and spokesperson Jose Dominic Clavano said the cancellation of visas is part of the overall strategy of the government to deal with illegal Pogo workers whose stay he said is not only a security risk but also a health risk following reports of a spread of sexually transmitted diseases in some Pogo companies.
“Ang strategy natin is ikansela ang mga visas ng mga workers na employed sa mga ilegal na Pogo. Abot sa 1,424 na ang nakanselang visa as of Monday,” Clavano said during the Laging Handa public briefing.
(Our strategy is to cancel the visa of workers employed in illegal Pogo companies. This reached the cancelation of 1,424 visas on Monday.)
Clavano said the cancelation of visa is determined to be a more cost-efficient and humanitarian approach for the Chinese workers instead of deportation.
In the cancelation of visas, the foreigner must exit the country within the non-extendible period of 59 days. Only those who will refuse to leave will be summarily deported.
Meanwhile, Clavano said 372 Chinese who are already under the custody of the Bureau of Immigration will be deported “this week or next week.”
However, he said there are Chinese Pogo workers who have reached out to the authorities asking if they will be allowed to stay in the country if they transferred to legal Pogo operators.
“May mga Chinese nationals na humingi ng tulong na makalipat sila sa mga legal Pogo companies.Yan po ang inaalam natin sa BI kung ano ang proseso dun kasi galing sila sa mga ilegal na Pogos,” Clavano said.
(There are Chinese nationals who asked for assistance to be able to transfer to legal Pogo companies. Right now, we are asking the BI what the process is since they came from illegal Pogos.)
As of Sept.14, the DOJ said data from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. showed 175 Pogos with canceled permits, meaning if some of them are still operating, then they are doing it illegally.
The DOJ said BI targets canceling visas of over 48,000 employees of the Pogos with canceled permits.