Makati City has indefinitely suspended the issuance of business licenses and permits to service providers for Philippine offshore gaming operators, or Pogos, because the sudden rise of this business has created a local real estate bubble that is near bursting point, and increasing crime, including prostitution, committed by the companies — mostly Chinese employees.
In a strongly worded statement on Sunday 8 December 2019, Makati Mayor Abby Binay said the city would no longer issue letters of no objection for business licenses to Pogo service providers.
“We would no longer accept new applications for Pogo service providers, and crack down hard against illegal activities that are catering to Pogos and their employees within Makati,”Binay said.
Six other cities in Metro Manila — Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Pasay, Parañaque, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa — issue letters of no objection, one of the requirements of gaming regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) for the operation of Pogos.
Binay said the Chinese rush in the city had increased the demand for housing and offices, causing drastic spikes in real property prices.
“This puts the local property sector at risk of overheating, where its growth becomes unsustainable,”Binay said.
The mayor also said the increasing demand for housing for Pogo employees had given rise to substandard but high-rent apartments.
“These apartments are usually overcrowded with insufficient exits and faulty fire-alarm systems,”she said.
Data from the Department of Tourism showed that, from January to September this year alone, more than 1.35 million Chinese entered the Philippines, higher than the total Chinese tourist arrivals of 1.2 million for the whole of 2018.
According to Makati City Hall, the city is home to about 300 Pogo service providers employing thousands of workers, mostly Chinese nationals. But according to Pagcor, it has registered only around 200 Pogo service providers.
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