Press Release
December 23, 2016

Villanueva backs Duterte's call to close online gambling ops

Senator Joel Villanueva has expressed his support on the call of President Rodrigo Duterte to shut down all online gambling operations in the country.

On his social media post, Villanueva said that he is "definitely supporting this initiative" adding that "gambling promotes greediness".

It can be noted that in November, the Bureau of Immigration raided more than 1,300 illegal Chinese workers who were employed at a firm in Clark known to be operated by gambling tycoon Jack Lam.

According to the Bureau of Immigration, 612 of the 1,335 Chinese nationals arrested had no work permits, 95 were overstaying, while 91 had no passports or any travel documents at all.

It was further discovered in an inquiry initated by the Labor Committee chaired by Villanueva that there are also other economic zones which do not impose a limit on the number of foreign workers employed by firms within their area. Villanueva specifically cited Cagayan and Clark economic zones which do not have such requirement.

In the said hearing, Clark Development Corp. (CDC) admitted they knew of more than 1,500 foreign workers at a firm called Next Games which was registered as a business process outsourcing firm but is actually into gaming business as a service provider for a company operating overseas.

Of the said figure, only 11 Filipino workers are employed by Next Games.

"Not only do these operations promote gambling but they also take advantage of our economic zones. Weak regulations allowed the illegal entry of foreign workers. Filipino workers do not benefit from these operations," Villanueva emphasized.

Prompted by the said scenario, the senator will file a bill that will make employment of at least 80 percent of Filipino workers as mandatory requirement for companies locating in economic zones.

"Ecozones are there to create jobs for Filipinos in exchange for tax incentives. However, it is currently being exploited by some locators who would bring in foreign workers, some of them illegal. I do not see any value in giving incentives to locators who do not hire Filipino workers," Villanueva said.

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