TUCP warns of Chinese influx in POGOs amid Cambodia gaming ban


    THE labor industry should brace for more Chinese workers flocking to the country following Cambodia’s crackdown on online gaming operations in its shores, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) warned yesterday.

    TUCP president Raymond Mendoza noted reports that as many as 6,000 Chinese have been leaving Cambodia on a daily basis following the crackdown order.

    Mendoza said many of these Chinese are likely to come to the country as additional manpower in the Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) industry.

    To ensure that Chinese working in POGOs are properly accounted for, Mendoza is proposing that government create a coordinating body to manage and control the POGO industry.

    Mendoza warned the lack of coordination among government agencies that oversee separate aspects of the POGO sector “might cause government to entirely lose control of the industry.”

    “Government agencies have limited authority and they cease to function on areas that (are) beyond their mandate. We have to learn from the Cambodian experience specifically in the aspect of government control over the entire aspects of the growing industry that has the potential to our economy,” Mendoza said.

    Mendoza noted the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Department of Trade and Industry, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Bureau of Immigration, Department of Labor and Employment, and Philippine National Police have separate and independent functions related to POGO operations in the country.

    Mendoza proposed that the agencies’ functions be consolidated in a body that would be attached to the Office of the President and reserve seats for representatives from the labor and business sectors.

    He also suggested that the body be put in charge of developing policies and programs to improve enforcement and compliance with labor and gambling regulations.

    While admitting that the POGO industry may have boosted the office and residential property sectors as well as retail and food sectors, Mendoza cited the increase in crimes such as kidnapping, illegal recruitment, human trafficking, prostitution and use and trafficking of illegal drugs.

    He also cited the need to look out for the living and working conditions of Chinese workers in the country.

    Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen last month halted new online gaming permits, following a rise in criminal activity in the thriving casino hubs of Sihanoukville, Bavet and Poipet. He directed that licenses ending this year no longer be renewed. News reports indicate that as many as 6,000 Chinese a day have been leaving Cambodia following the crackdown order.

    All forms of gambling, even overseas and online, are prohibited in China.