MANILA, Philippines- The Bureau of Immigration has begun processing the visa cancellation of 48,782 foreign employees of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) who were revoked by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) the license to operate.
“Upon receipt of the information from Pagcor, we immediately started cross-checking their employees to determine which ones are still in the country,” ani Immigration chief Norman Tansingco nitong Linggo.
“While this is a laborious task as we have to check each and every record, we are confident that this could be completed in a month.”
With the cancellation of their visa, the foreign workers will be removed from the country within 59 days. Those still staying after 59 days will be deported.
“This is the regular procedure for cancelled visas, and this is actually more economical and faster,” ani Tansingco.
The workers themselves will pay the cost of departure.
Meanwhile, the bureau’s Board of Commissioners issued a summary deportation order to 372 foreigners, of which 331 are Chinese and the remaining 41 are of other races.
372 foreigners were arrested in separate operations by the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Pasig and Angeles last September.
The Philippines became a “hotbed” for Chinese gangsters when Vietnam and Cambodia banned Chinese-backed online gambling and overseas casinos similar to POGOs, according to Brig. Gen. Ronald Lee, director of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
Currently, the PNP receives only 27 reports of kidnapping cases, of which 20 are linked to POGOs, based on PNP spokesperson, Col. Jean Fajardo.
Some lawmakers are calling on the government to ban POGOs because of its connection to reported cases of embezzlement and other crimes recently. RNT/SA
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