Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (Photo by BEN STANSALL / AFP)
MANILA, Philippines — China’s asking the Philippines to ban all forms of online gambling, including Philippine gaming offshore operators (POGOs), debunks the “Yellow lie” that such operations are an act of “Chinese invasion.”
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. shared this view on Wednesday amid the furor surrounding the Pogo industry as concerns grew over the influx of Chinese nationals entering the country.
“The first thing we destroyed with China saying ‘Stop the POGO[s]’ is the lies spread by the ‘Yellows’ that POGO is a Chinese invasion,” Locsin said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
“We debunk the ‘Yellow’ lie that this is a Chinese invasion. No, it’s a Philippine invasion of the Chinese social system,” he added.
In August, China called on the Philippine government to ban all online gambling operations following the move of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. ( Pagcor) to suspend the issuance of new applications for Pogos.
READ: China to Philippines: Ban all online gambling
READ: China wants Philippines to ‘punish’ POGOs, casinos illegally recruiting Chinese workers
Before this, the Chinese Embassy in Manila already issued a statement saying a large number of Chinese citizens had been illegally recruited to work in the Philippine gambling industry with some “even lured into and cheated to work illegally with only tourist visas.”
The embassy also said a “huge amount” of Chinese funds were “illegally flown out” of China and into the Philippines through cross-border money laundering.
“The Chinese argument is that POGO is a Filipino invention,” Locsin went on.
The foreign affairs chief pointed out that other countries also have online gambling operations similar to that of POGOs.
“It’s not only the Philippines. Mongolia, Kazakhstan, all of them, the countries around Vietnam, Cambodia are now — and this is the word they use — addicting the Chinese to the Chinese vice: Gambling,” Locsin explained. “And that is undermining the social fabric of China. So now, it’s our fault.”
President Rodrigo Duterte himself had earlier said banning online gambling in the Philippines would affect the economy and workers in the country.
Still, he reminded POGOs to remit their dues to the government faithfully.
READ: Duterte won’t ban Pogos: Many will lose their jobs
In July, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) collected around P200 million in taxes from foreigners — mostly Chinese — who were working for POGOs.
READ: Gov’t nets P200M from Pogo workers
This developed after the government started to mandate automatic withholding of personal taxes from foreign workers following the earlier estimate of the Department of Finance that the government loses around P24 billion yearly for every 100,000 POGO workers who do not pay taxes.
READ: DOF, Pogo firms reach deal on taxation of Chinese workers
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