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Take ‘em back

 

jullie yap daza - medium rare

A MATTER of “grave concern” to the Chinese embassy: “In many cases, the employers of Philippine casinos, POGOs and other forms of gambling entities do not apply neces­sary legal work permits for their Chi­nese employees. Some Chinese citi­zens are even lured into and cheated to work illegally with only tourist vi­sas.”

To make both Manila and Beijing happy, we should ask the thousands of POGOs, aka robots, to go back to China. If the situation is as bad as the embassy describes it, they have no business seeking more fun in the Philippines. Gambling is illegal in China, so the seekers of fun and for­tune come here – in droves. In large areas of MOA, heavy concentrations of Chinese, tourists or investors or whatever, can be seen strolling in ca­sual clothes, seemingly enjoying the sights. The casino hotel-resorts are full of them, with groups of pretty girls in party clothes gaily alighting from their chauffeured SUVs to have a good time.

Did these happy-go-lucky visitors come on their own? If not, who in­vited them? The embassy statement points directly to “the employers of Philippine casinos” with what we sup­pose are their marketing gimmicks, tempting promos and irresistible jun­kets. As for the visas with which they are “lured” into coming, the straight­forward fact is that we thought the visa-upon-arrival was a privilege ex­tended to the citizens of China be­cause of our President’s close friend­ship with their President Xi.

Are the visitors here for work or vacation? They couldn’t be bothered to answer, they’re shy, don’t speak English. We do know there have been police reports of Chinese gangs kid­napping, detaining and torturing their Chinese victims, for ransom or payment of gambling debts.

There are other ways to skin the cat. DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez bore down on 36 restaurants for using ex­clusively Chinese characters on their signs, menus, receipts, etc. DOLE has caught Chinese construction workers for working without permits. Public opinion is raw against the prospects of entire colonies of POGOs establish­ing residence within striking distance of certain neighborhoods. Pagcor as­sured the embassy that the robots, rather than being deprived of their rights, are safe, protected and move without restrictions, freely, in and out of their dormitories.

China has reason to be concerned, but we have more reasons.

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