BACOLOD

Group slams influx of Chinese Pogo workers

THE General Alliance of Workers Associations (Gawa) has been consistently raising the alarm on its opposition to the influx of illegal Chinese workers posing as tourists, its top official said.

Wennie Sancho, secretary general of Gawa, expressed dismay over the issuance of visa upon arrival by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to Chinese tourists, who end up as workers in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (Pogo) industry.

Sancho said they are also questioning how a tourist can get a temporary working permit from the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole).

"Unfortunately, our manifestation fell on deaf ears," he said, adding that the explosion of the "pastillas modus" scheme in the BI by Senator Risa Hontiveros validated the labor group's stand.

Sancho, also the labor representative to the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity (RTWPB) Region 6, said the hullabaloo over the "pastillas modus" opened a can of worms on the alleged operation of a syndicate in cahoots with some BI officials and employees.

With a "processing fee" of P10,000 or more per person, illegal Chinese workers can gain employment in the Pogo industry, the labor leader said.

He said crimes like prostitution, gambling and kidnapping involving Chinese have proliferated as a result.

Gawa said the labor sector is apprehensive over this unofficial policy of "Chinese Pogo workers liberalization."

The government had already liberalized the importation of rice and sugar industry will be the next, it added.

"With the bill proposing 100 percent foreign ownership of our communication and transportation industry, it would not be far before we will have a labor import liberalization policy," Sancho said, adding that "in fact it is happening now, albeit for the Chinese only."


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