De Lima warns ‘Pogo Island’ could be start of creeping Chinese colonization

4 years ago 0 Comments

MANILA – Senator Leila de Lima warned Wednesday against the planned establishment of a 32-hectare complex called “Pogo Island” in Kawit, Cavite which she said could be the beginning of a creeping Chinese colonization.

“For now, it’s just 32 hectares but this could be the start of a possible colonization if they decide to purchase and occupy more lands in different parts of the country. Mas malala pa ito sa ginawa nila sa West Philippine Sea kapag nagkataon," De Lima, who is detained on drug charges, said in a statement.

The statement came after reports surfaced that a wealthy Chinese-Filipino businessman purchased the former Island Cove resort from the influential Remulla clan in Cavite and turned it into a complex for Chinese Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) workers.

The “Pogo Island” is reportedly expected to house 20,000 Chinese workers when it opens next month, but it might accommodate around 50,000 Chinese workers when the complex is completed.

"Baka isang araw, magising na lang tayong puro Tsino na ang mga kapitbahay natin kapag dumami ang mga katulad nitong Pogo island,” De Lima warned.

The country has seen the arrival of thousands of Chinese workers with the growth of the POGO industry, which has flourished because gambling is illegal in China and heavily opposed by its Communist government.

As of latest count, the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation has authorized the operation of 55 POGO operators, but only around 50 are reportedly operating due to lack of capital.

De Lima renewed her call to the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to ensure POGO operators are strictly complying with the country’s laws on employment and taxation.

"There is a need to document all foreign workers to ensure the legality of their working status in the country," stressed De Lima, who sought for a Senate probe on the operation of POGOs in the country in the 17th Congress.

In a Senate resolution she filed last March, De Lima asked the Senate to look into the reported failure of POGO firms to comply with government regulations on foreign workers, notably in paying appropriate personal income taxes due to the Philippine government.

The senator had said the flow of Chinese workers in the country has not only triggered a property surge in many developed areas but has displaced poor families who were evicted from their homes to accommodate Chinese businesses. 

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