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POGOs to continue operations amid enhanced community quarantine vs. COVID-19

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) is allowing workers in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) industry to report to their sites despite the enhanced community quarantine being enforced in the entire Luzon due to COVID-19 spread.

In a memorandum released Tuesday, PAGCOR directed POGO licensees and service providers to “continue the implementation of work from home set-up.”

However, in case full enforcement of work from home set-up is not possible, 25% of the workforce per shift shall be allowed in operating sites.

This if the employees who are part of the skeletal workforce shall be shuttled from their residences to the offices and vice versa, without having to cross inter-city borders.

“It is urgently recommended that living accommodations be provided for them in the buildings or areas where they hold office,” PAGCOR said.

A POGO licensee is a firm that operates the gambling business and taps service providers to provide technical services such as live-streaming of games to their offshore, usually Chinese, clients.

Its clients are offshore and Filipino are not allowed to bet in their online gambling.

“POGOs are BPOs (business process outsourcing). They are the platform for offshore bets. There is no personal or physical interaction with bettors/players,” PAGCOR chairman Andrea Domingo told GMA News Online.

“Landbased gaming stations are completely closed, zero income except for the POGOs/BPOs which will be restricted to their homes and offices observing all protocols such as social distancing, hygiene and sanitation procedures,” Domingo said.

PAGCOR announced Sunday that it was suspending all gaming operations in response to the efforts at preventing the spread of COVID-19. 

The latest PAGCOR memo also directs POGOs to ensure that all its employees or not loitering or gathering outside their offices and residences.

POGOs are also ordered to emphasize to its workers the need to stay indoors, except when needed to buy medicines, basic commodities or seek medical treatment.

“POGO licensees and/ore service providers found violating these restrictions shall be closed down,” PAGCOR said.

“Employees of these entities who are found to be in violation shall be turned over to the police. Concerned foreign employees shall also be recommended for deportation or cancellation of passports,” it said. -NB, GMA News