By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Joel Villanueva called on the Philippine government to coordinate with China in ending online gambling and gambling-related crimes in the country.
Villanueva issued the appeal as he agreed with the “grave concerns” of the China embassy on the plan of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) to move workers in Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) to communities or hubs.
In a statement, the Chinese embassy pointed out that any form of gambling, including online and overseas gambling, is illegal in China. But Chinese nationals are illegally recruited to work in POGOs, which, according China’s Supreme Court, also constitutes gambling offense.
The consulate also said illegal recruitment equates to “modern slavery” of Chinese nationals, who, in their stay in the Philippines, are reportedly abused and deprived of their freedom. It then urged the Philippine government to strengthen its law enforcement against illegal gambling to protect the rights of its citizens.
“We agree with the Chinese ambassador that the Philippine government should work closely with China in combatting gambling, and gambling-related crimes,” Villanueva said in a statement.
“Like the ambassador, we share his concern that online gambling will be a hotbed for money launderers and will result in more crimes,” he said.