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Economic activity plunges as Metro Manila extends lockdown

While some areas in Manila ease economic restrictions, high risk areas still feel the impact

Philippines Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced on Tuesday that the Enhanced Community Quarantine shall be extended until 31 May for high risk areas in the country including Laguna, Cebu City and the whole of Metro Manila.  

The new guidelines, locally known as Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine will allow re-opening of select manufacturing companies and processing plants, but public transportation will remain limited.  

He stated that the risk for Covid-19 is still high for the three areas mentioned but some rules may be relaxed in preparation for the gradual opening of the country’s economy. 

The rest of the country will be under the General Community Quarantine which allows select non-essential industries to operate providing compliance to a set of rules by the government which includes, only 50 percent of the workforce to report to office while the remaining 50 percent would be under the work-from-home scheme.  

Guidelines released by the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry prohibit Entertainment and Amusement industries to operate during lockdown.

Under the guidelines released by the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry, “Gambling and betting, such as but not limited to cockfighting, casinos and the like” and “Entertainment and Amusement industries” are still not allowed to operate under the Category IV industries.  

Integrated Resorts in the country’s Entertainment City, located in Metro Manila, have remained closed since 16 March following the order from regulator PAGCOR to suspend operations immediately to prevent the Covid-19 virus from spreading. The IRs official websites stated that the suspension of their operations is “until further notice” and in support with the government’s fight against Covid-19 pandemic.  

Through an inquiry, Solaire Resorts and Casino, responded with “At this time, we have no definite date and time yet (as to the resumption of operations) as we are following the guidelines of the government.” 

Earlier this month, PAGCOR allowed the re-opening of POGOs or online casino operations in the country following a set of stringent guidelines, which includes updating of all tax dues to the government and the agency. The permission caused a huge debate whether to allow POGOs to operate ahead of other industries, with some Philippine lawmakers questioning the decision.  

PAGCOR has been working closely with the Philippine authorities in the crackdown against illegal online operations in the country. Earlier this month, authorities busted an illegal online gambling den in Makati City while last month, they arrested individuals involved in illegal gambling operations in Paranaque City.  

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The SiGMA Manila expo might have got postponed to May 2021 but that won’t stop SiGMA Group from bringing gaming scenes closer together. From various gaming sectors to an outstanding line-up of speakers we’ll be having a look at how the main markets across Europe and Asia will adapt and thrive. SiGMA Digital, in partnership with ICE Asia, AIBC and MGS Entertainment Show will take place on the same week of the original show dates, 8 – 10 June 2020. Register now to be part of this global digital revolution!

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