EDITORIAL — They are victims too

The Freeman
EDITORIAL � They are victims too

According to reports, a total of 167 Chinese nationals who worked for the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operation (POGO) Zun Yuan Technology Inc. in Bamban, Tarlac, were deported last Tuesday.

A photo on Rappler shows the deportees waiting to be processed at the airport wearing green long-sleeved shirts marking them out as deportees. Each is holding on to some papers despite having both hands bound together with zip ties.

After being deported they will be blacklisted and no longer be able to re-enter the Philippines.

In the context of our current issue with China, particularly with their bullying us over the West Philippine Sea, it is very easy for many of us to look at every Chinese individual who comes over from the mainland and see a bully. Not just that, someone who is also here to take a job that a Filipino could have done and should have been paid for.

However, we must not forget that most of those who are working for POGOs here are victims too, most likely lured here by illegal recruiters in mainland China who promised them a better-paying job abroad before taking them here.

We must also not forget that while some raids show what luxuries and amenities are available to some POGO workers these are likely for those who could afford to pay handsomely for them. And that the reality for many POGO workers is that their “employment” is a never-ending cycle of servitude, blackmail, and debt.

Like our own nationals who have fallen into the web of illegal recruiters in different places abroad, we are sure that those Chinese nationals would rather have been somewhere else and doing something else instead of the work they had to do at that POGO.

Then again, it would seem it isn’t just Chinese nationals being lured to work in POGOs here anymore, but also a fair number of Indonesians, Malaysians, Thais, and others.

Before we look at them harshly, we shouldn’t forget that most likely for every foreign national roped to work here illegally there is also a Filipino being trapped in their own version of a POGO, a sweat shop, a prostitution den, or something else even worse somewhere abroad.

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