Due to the Philippines’ ongoing activities of offshore gaming companies (Pogos), China has placed the country on its travel ban list.
Following his conversation with Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri communicated the development with senators during the Senate committee on ways and means hearing on Tuesday.
“Ambassador Huang said that the Philippines now is part of a blacklist of tourist sites because they do not know if the tourist going there will be operating or will be joining Pogo operations,” Zubiri said.
“They do not know if Chinese nationals who go to the Philippines will be safe from illegal activities being done by the triad, by the syndicates operating Pogos. They may also be kidnapped and mistaken for Pogo operators. So, that is the reason why there’s been a drop, a significant drop of Chinese tourists,” he added.
According to Zubiri, Huang repeatedly pointed out that the social costs of Pogos are “very high.”
The Senate President also questioned whether the Philippines is supporting and sponsoring unlawful operations, as well as how it would go down with the rest of the world.
Prior to Zubiri’s statement, Senator Grace Poe questioned Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon of the National Economic and Development Authority about whether the Philippines was on China’s prohibited list of nations to visit during Pogo operations.
Edillon responded: “I think the timing was also kind of unfortunate because this was actually in 2019 when they did this threat of a blacklist and the year afterward, [there] is a pandemic here.
“No list was released. We were one of those countries called out, our attention was called,” she added.
The Senate panel, chaired by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, opened an investigation on Pogos amid the alleged spike of abduction cases linked to the industry.
- YOUTUBE VIDEO: Philippines on China’s blacklist of tourist sites over Pogo operations — Zubiri
By: Miss Cherry May Timbol – Independent Reporter
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