A TOTAL of 156 foreigners linked to illegal offshore gaming companies have been deported as of Dec. 31, according to the Bureau of Immigration (BI).
In a letter to Immigration Commissioner Norman G. Tansingco sent to reporters on Wednesday, BI Legal Division Chief Arvin Cesar G. Santos said 212 foreign workers of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) who lack travel documents are also due for deportation.
“The BI is in the process of securing all necessary documents and clearances for the deportation of the remaining 212 foreign nationals who lack documents and confirmed airline tickets to their respective countries of origin,” he said in the letter.
Of the 156 foreign nationals, the latest deportees were seven Vietnamese who were deported on Dec. 16, another 27 foreigners on Dec. 21, and 23 on Dec. 28, the immigration official said.
The government had revoked the visas of more than 1,400 Chinese nationals working in these illegal offshore gaming companies whose licenses had been canceled.
China has said it would cooperate with local law enforcement agencies in tackling crimes linked to illegal gambling outfits.
Last week, Pasig Mayor Victor Ma. “Vico” N. Sotto signed an ordinance banning operators of online gambling firms and offshore gaming in the city.
He said corruption from offshore gambling operations was one of the reasons why he approved the measure.
State-run Philippine Amusement Gaming Corp. has said those who want to gamble should do so legally on licensed electronic gaming sites. — John Victor D. Ordoñez