MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) directed Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) to impose a 10-day quarantine on all newly hired and returning employees from countries with reported cases of the novel coronavirus.
Pagcor also issued a separate memorandum to all POGOs and service providers to “exercise extreme caution” in hiring employees to be sent to the Philippines.
The POGO industry is comprised mostly of Chinese workers. (READ: The global spread of the coronavirus: Where is it?)
“But even before the agency came out with the said directives, some POGO entities have already voluntarily avoided the entry of such workers to the country,” Pagcor said.
There are currently 58 POGOs accredited by Pagcor, most of which operate in the southern part of the capital region, particularly in Makati City and Pasay City. There are also some located in Olongapo City and Cebu City.
The number of POGO workers remains unclear, as data from various agencies and industry estimates vary.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue estimates around 103,000 foreign POGO workers, while the Department of Labor and Employment counted only around 86,000. Pagcor said there are 93,000 workers.
Property consultancy firms estimate the number of workers may be as high as almost 500,000.
As of Monday, January 27, the Department of Health is investigating 11 cases of possible novel coronavirus across the country.
The new virus has left at least 82 people dead in China, with more than 2,700 people infected there. Cases have been found in more than a dozen other countries. – Rappler.com