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No extensions: DOJ gives overstaying Chinese workers 59 days to leave

Philstar.com
No extensions: DOJ gives overstaying Chinese workers 59 days to leave
In POGOs, bets are made by players abroad through service providers based here in the Philippines.
Tory Ho / AFP / File

MANILA, Philippines — Instead of deporting Chinese nationals who used to work for shuttered offshore gaming firms right away, the Department of Justice will be giving them 59 days to voluntarily leave the country. 

"If they fail to leave, it is then that we initiate deportation proceedings," Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco said in a statement on Sunday.

Visas of 48,782 Chinese nationals have been canceled after the Philippine government closed down 175 Philippine offshore gaming operators following a string of reported crimes such as murder, human trafficking, and kidnapping. 

The BI, together with the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police, is in the process of determining whether these individuals are still in the country. Tansingco is “confident” the bureau’s verification can be completed within a month.

RELATED: Philippines does not need money from POGOs – senator 

In a separate statement, the DOJ noted how the operation may affect the country’s economy. 

“However, given the reports of murder, kidnapping, and other criminal activities, the social cost of keeping illegal aliens heavily outweighs the projected effect it will have on the affected industries,” the DOJ said.

“Even so, the department will be sure to coordinate with the national economic team to counter any negative effects on the country.”

Talk of completely banning POGOs was initiated at the Senate after the crimes related to the sector resurfaced. However, Leechiu Property Consultants said a total ban on POGOs may trigger a crisis in the real estate industry and may lead to an annual loss of almost P200 billion for the Philippine economy.

There are currently 372 foreigners, 331 Chinese nationals along with 41 other nationals, in custody who are set to be deported by the BoI in batches. The BI said it has already reached out to the Chinese embassy for needed documentation of the deportees.

READ: Chinese embassy to ‘step up law enforcement’ following POGO-related crimes 

BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION

CHINESE EMBASSY

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

PHILIPPINE OFFSHORE GAMING OPERATORS

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