POGO shuts down causing 1000 Chinese workers to leave the free port for good
The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) announced on Wednesday that thousands of Chinese workers have left the premier free port for good, as a Philippine Offshore Gaming company (Pogo) in Subic Bay Freeport, Philippines has shut operations due to revenue losses.
On Wednesday (Oct. 21) the head of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Wilma Eisma (pictured here), said that out of the previous 1,500 Chinese workers in Subic, only less than 500 were left. She also said that
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect POGO establishments, we can expect more Chinese workers here to be repatriated...This is because the Pogo operators cannot do business after the declaration of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine last March, and thus were losing money".
Eisma said the Great Empire Gaming and Amrusement Corp. - one of the Pogo firms operating here - has sent all its 368 Chinese workers back to China after losing PHP106 million, hence its closure in June.
It was learned that the Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp. used to pay the SBMA an annual share of PHP533,700 on top of its monthly sublease fee of PHP84,000.
Furthermore, Senators Richard Gordon and Nancy Binay noted during the Department of Tourism budget hearing, that a total of 27,678 foreigners from mainland China had availed themselves of the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa or SRRV.
According to figures from the SBMA Business Group, about 85 percent POGO workers hired have been cut back in employment since the covid-19 outbreak in March.
The remaining three POGO companies in the area likewise reported cutbacks in employment as the SBMA records indicated only a total of 170 Filipino workers have been remained as of Sept. 28.
Eisma said, “POGO operators in Subic are not expected to resume operations anytime soon, as even some online gaming operators in Manila that cater to the Chinese market have recently exited the Philippines.”
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