By Erma Edera
At least 12,000 illegal foreign workers, mostly in the Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) sector are working in the country without the necessary permits.
According to Bureau of Local Employment Director Dominique Tutay, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported that out of 148 establishments employing around 37,000 workers inspected, the 12,000 illegal foreign workers are employed by 33 POGO firms.
They were found lacking permits from both DOLE and the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
Tutay also reported that the labor department found out that 20 out of the 148 POGO companies are not registered with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.
Tutay said they only covered the initial two batches of establishments.
The next batch will cover the special economic zones (SEZs) and restaurants employing foreign nationals.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said he is considering shutting down the POGO firms that hired the illegal foreign workers.
He also believed that there are a lot more foreigners employed illegally in the country.
“For the next meeting, we would like to see movement on the assessment. We would like to see inspections and closure of establishments with illegal foreign workers. So we’d like to see progress. And you know, if there are 12,000 that you found, there must be a lot more, a lot more who are floating around,” Dominguez said in a statement.
“This is a crime. It’s a violation of the law,” he added.