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Palace has not yet received a warning about China’s blacklisting.

On Tuesday, Malacanang stated that it had not yet been informed that the Philippines had been added to China’s list of prohibited travel locations because of the ongoing operations of offshore gambling companies.

Officer-in-Charge of OPS After discussing this development with Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian during Tuesday’s Senate committee meeting on ways and means, Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri said as much, according to Undersecretary Cheloy Garafil.

“Wala naman po kaming nare-receive na advisory with regard to that blacklisting issue, therefore we will make the appropriate response nga nabigyan na po kami ng kaukulang advisory. In her first Palace press conference since taking over last week, Garafil stated, “(We have not yet gotten advice about that blacklisting issue; when we have been given the necessary advisory, we will make the appropriate comment.).”

Garafil declined to speculate when asked if the Palace is alarmed by the statement, given that Chinese visitors are among the top visitor markets listed by the Department of Tourism (DOT).

According to DOT data, 1.7 million arrivals in 2019 were made up of Chinese people.

“Ayaw ko po mag speculate; thus, hintayin na lang po natin ang advise kung mayroon man po. I don’t want to speculate about anything because I can’t confirm anything, so let’s wait for an advisory if there is one. I don’t want to make a statement on something that hasn’t been verified),” she continued.

Huang claimed that China is aiding the Philippines in eradicating crimes involving Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs).

Many of the kidnappings that the Philippine National Police is looking into, according to Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos, involved POGOs.

Benjamin Diokno, the finance secretary, stated that he favors eliminating POGO activities due to the “social cost” incurred by the sector.

Diokno wrote in his position paper forwarded to the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs and Ways and Means, “Studies on the POGO industry have demonstrated that POGO operations contain illicit activities like prostitution, employment of minors, and violation of labor regulations.”

Additionally, he stated that POGO carries a “reputational risk,” particularly because nations like China and Cambodia have already stopped using it.
He claimed that POGO revenues fell to PHP3.9 billion in 2021 from PHP7.2 billion in 2020, citing official figures.

According to Diokno, it is time for the nation to seek investments that will give Filipinos valuable and high-quality jobs.

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