China calls on Philippines to ban all online gambling operations

Robie de Guzman   •   August 21, 2019   •   1138

MANILA, Philippines – China expressed hope that the Philippine government would ban all online gambling operations following its move to suspend the issuance of new licenses for offshore gaming companies.

Based on an official transcript of a press conference held Tuesday (August 20), China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said it welcomes the Philippines’ suspension of new applications for online gambling licenses.

“We also note the Philippine government’s announcement and appreciate it. We hope the Philippines will go further and ban all online gambling,” Geng said. 

“We hope it will further strengthen law enforcement with China and jointly tackle criminal activities including online gambling and cyber fraud. This will help create an enabling environment for our bilateral relations and peace and stability in the region,” he added.

Geng made the statement after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) on Monday announced a moratorium on applications for new Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) over several concerns.

The Chinese official also said that “online gambling is a most dangerous tumor in modern society detested by people all across the world.”

The Chinese Embassy in Manila said that based on China’s laws and regulations, any form of gambling by Chinese citizens, including online-gambling, gambling overseas, opening casinos overseas to attract citizens of China as primary customers, is illegal. 

“The casinos and offshore gaming operators (POGOs) and other forms of gambling entities in the Philippine target Chinese citizens as their primary customers. A large number of Chinese citizens have been illegally recruited and hired in the Philippine gambling industry,” it said.

“In many cases, the employers of Philippine casinos, POGOs and other forms of gambling entities do not apply necessary legal work permits for their Chinese employees. Some Chinese citizens are even lured into and cheated to work illegally with only tourist visas,” it added.

Thousands of Chinese workers were earlier reported to be illegally working for more than 50 online gambling hubs in the Philippines.

Beijing earlier expressed grave concern over Pagcor’s move to transfer Chinese POGO workers to self-contained communities, saying this may infringe on the basic legal rights of the Chinese citizens concerned.

It also appealed to Manila to pay attention to Beijing’s position and concerns and punish Philippine casinos and other forms of gambling entities that are illegally recruiting its citizens.

“The Chinese side also urges relevant departments of the Philippine Government to strengthen law enforcement cooperation with China to jointly combating gambling-related crimes such as money-laundering, illegal employment, kidnapping, extortion, torture, murder etc so as to effectively protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens, and to promote China-Philippine friendship and cooperation,” it added.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier raised concern over the proximity of POGOs to military installations as these may be used for espionage.

Malacañang earlier said it sees nothing wrong with the location of POGO hubs near military installations and the creation of self-contained communities of foreign workers as long as it doesn’t violate the law.

READ: Malacañang: No risk in POGO hubs near military camps

However, the Palace would defer to the National Security Council to assess any risk being posed by the foreign operated online gaming operations.

Pro and anti-Beijing supporters face off at shopping mall

Jeck Deocampo   •   September 13, 2019

Pro-Beijing supporters flooded into a Hong Kong shopping mall waving China flags and singing the Chinese national anthem on Friday (September 13) where they were confronted by with anti-Beijing groups.

The confrontation came hours before a city-wide Mid-Autumn festival celebration where demonstrators are set to carry lanterns and form human chains on the scenic Victoria Peak, an area popular with mainland Chinese tour groups. The human chain is also due to be formed on Lion Rock which separates the New Territories from the Kowloon peninsula.

The anti-China demonstrations started in June in response to a bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts, but have broadened into calls for democracy.

China says Hong Kong is now its internal affair. It denies meddling in Hong Kong and has accused the United States, Britain and others of fomenting the unrest.

Britain says it has a legal responsibility to ensure China abides by its obligations under the Joint Declaration. (REUTERS)

Palace: Duterte will not set aside arbitral ruling on joint oil exploration with China

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 12, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (L) and People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping (R) pose for posterity prior to the start of the bilateral meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on August 29, 2019.

The Malacañang insisted that President Rodrigo Duterte will not set aside the West Philippine Sea arbitral ruling for the joint oil exploration with China.

This was after former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert Del Rosario slammed the president’s statement.

“[Because the] exclusive economic zone is part of the arbitral ruling which we will ignore to come up with an economic activity,” President Duterte was quoted saying during the oath-taking of the Malacanang Press Corps on September 10.

Vice President Leni Robredo expressed dismay over what she referred to as ‘irresponsible’ statement of the chief executive.

However, the palace said President Duterte is not setting aside the decision of the Hague Arbitral Tribunal, as well as the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the country.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the negotiation between the Philippines and China will remain.

“The setting aside doesn’t mean that we will abandon it. what the president means, as we have repeatedly said, and as he has said too, the arbitral ruling is still subject to talks between two countries, negotiation is ongoing peacefully, meanwhile we focus on other concerns may mutually benefit the two countries,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Tropical depression expected to enter PAR on Thursday

Marje Pelayo   •   September 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Tropical Depression outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) has slightly intensified, according to the state weather service PAGASA.

As of PAGASA’s 4:00 AM bulletin, the trough of the tropical depression is now affecting Southern Luzon and Visayas.

On Thursday (September 12), cloudy skies with scattered to widespread rainshowers and thunderstorms will be experienced specifically in CALABARZON, Bicol Region, MIMAROPA, Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Aurora, Quirino, Isabela, and Cagayan.

According to the latest data from PAGASA, the center of the tropical depression was observed at 1,495 km East of Visayas with maximum sustained winds of 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 70 km/hour while moving east-northeastward at a speed of 15km/hour.

The weather system is forecast to enter PAR within 48 hrs and will be named “Marilyn”.

This weather disturbance is less likely to make landfall in the country.

Meanwhile, partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers will prevail over Metro Manila and the rest of the country due to localized thunderstorms.

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