Palace spokesman Harry Roque announced the partial resumption of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs), labeling them as business process outsourcing (BPO) companies allowed to operate in places under quarantine.

The government previously announced that mass gatherings, including religious and work-related, remain banned under the implemented quarantine rules.

However, the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases clarified that POGOs are considered BPOs, which are allowed to have limited operations in areas with quarantine measures in place.

The Palace spokesman clarified that only gaming and amusement-related activities remain banned.

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) chairwoman Andrea Domingo said POGOs may only employ 30 percent of their normal workforce, which must undergo rapid testing before reporting for work.

Domingo said POGOs would be notified of the necessary requirements for operation on May 4, including the order to have tax obligations up to March 2020 paid. They are expected to resume operations week after.

A “guarantee fee” of P300 million to P350 million will also be collected from POGOs, which will be allotted to the government’s pandemic fund.

As of June 2019, there were 56 Pagcor-licensed POGOs. John Ezekiel J. Hirro