The Department of Justice building in Manila. (Photo from the DOJ website)

Government agencies led by the justice and labor departments have signed a join memorandum circular (JMC) to monitor Chinese workers in Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGOs).

Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said “appropriate sanctions, including summary deportation, shall be imposed upon foreign workers who shall willfully violate the provisions of the JMC, including non-registration for tax purposes.”

“Foreign workers employed in POGOs will be covered by this JMC,” he said.

The number of POGO workers is estimated to be about 150,000, employed in 50 gaming companies.

“This issue can be addressed in a faster way without amending the law,” Guevarra added. “It’s not a question of which agency should be solely responsible for the issuance of SWPs (Special Work Permits).”

An SWP allows a foreign national to work in the country for only three months, but this could be stretched for another three months.

Foreigners may be given alien employment permits by the labor department for periods longer than six months, but only for highly technical, specialized, supervisory and managerial jobs that cannot be fulfilled by locals.

Signatories to the JMC are the Department of Justice and Bureau of Immigration, the Department of Labor and Employment, the Professional Regulation Commission, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency. (Jojo Mangahis)