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China is not My Jurisdiction's Problem, According to Duterte: Others in His Government Beg to DifferPublished September 29, 2019 by Lee R
China is not the only one that wants to shut down gambling in expanding Philippines, but President Duterte is not listening.
The Chinese attack on gambling in neighbouring jurisdictions is being met with resistance by the leader of expanding Philippines, but dividing the government just the same.
Philippines President Duterte has been investing heavily in regional gaming setting up a new revenue system, complete with new gaming projects in hotbed states and additional gaming conferences added within the jurisdiction. Now, hawking China has initiated a campaign to discourage gaming in neighbouring countries.
Opposition Senator Supports Ban
While Duterteexpressed displeasure with the suggestion that he abandon his expansion campaign, opposition senator Leila de Lima blamed online gambling for widespread crime within the country such as kidnapping, prostitution and other illegal activities.
Concerns About Criminal Operators
De Lima denounced the rise of online gaming in suggesting the government take a harder look at issues associated with Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO):
“Aside from the safety and security risks, I had long forewarned against crimes caused by the influx of POGOs in the country, including kidnapping, extortion, money laundering, and the rise of sex workers and illegal workers in the country.”
Economic Perspective Too Narrow?
De Lima has called on Duterte for an immediate ban on online gambling, on the grounds that it “causes more harm than good and stop looking at it from an economic or investment perspective.”
The root of her opposition is the general belief that many POGO firms are run by Chinese loan shark gangs offering offshore play to lure Chinese to the Philippines for foul play.
Chinese Crime in Philippines Rising
Kidnappings of Chinese nationals are on the rise in the country, according to the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group recorded 55 kidnappings, involving Chinese nationals in the country since 2017 to date, most of which were gambling-related. One scam involved a couple being kidnapped for ransom after one spouse gambled their money away in the Phillippines.
Duterte Stands Firm
President Duterte recently issued a defiant response to China's calls for his country to shut down POGO, saying he will continue to develop online gaming in the country because the economy still needs the billions of pesos online gaming revenues generate.
De Lima's concern about a “POGO island” as the source of an invasion of undesirables from China jibes with the China government's stance on cracking down on gambling; but wanton crime may not be enough for Duterte to fully shutter an ambitious market expansion in his jurisdiction if he maintains the belief or position that the licensed elements are by and large honest and safe.