Malacañang on Wednesday said President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was monitoring crimes related to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) as part of his efforts to foster Philippines-China relations.

In a Palace briefing, Office of the Press Secretary officer in charge Cheloy Garafil said tourism was essential in the relationship between the Philippines and China.

“Of course, the president is closely monitoring this and as far as the President is concerned, ang Philippine National Police po ang in-charge dito sa usapin na ito,” she said.

“We look forward to continuing that relationship as we continuously welcome our friends from China and we anticipate more of them to come in the months and years ahead,” she added .

Garafil made the statement after the Chinese Embassy denied Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri’s statement alleging China of placing the Philippines on its blacklist for tourist destinations.

The Chinese Embassy has called Zubiri’s statement “misinformation.”

There are about 40,000 POGO workers in the country, according to the Department of Justice.

Last month, the government announced it was planning to deport some 2,000 POGO workers. John Ezekiel J. Hirro