The country’s largest licensed online gaming service providers said on Friday (May 1) that its members will follow the strict guidelines issued by the government as a precondition for the resumption of partial operations of so-called Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (Pogo).

In a statement, the Accredited Service Providers Association of Pagcor (Aspap) said its members will follow the strict conditions set by Malacañang, the government’s gaming regulator and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

“These include deep cleaning and disinfection of facilities, testing of Filipino and foreign workers for COVID-19 prior to deployment, payment of workers’ salaries and taxes to Bureau of Internal Revenue, remittance of the P350-million minimum guaranteed fee to Pagcor, proper social distancing and other measures,” the group said.

Aspap also said its members welcomed the government’s statement putting the gaming service industry in the same classification as business process outsourcing (BPO) firms.

The group said its members provide services to Pogo firms similar to those of BPOs, including call center operations, telemarketing, systems and hardware support, as well as “live dealer” video streaming and other online games.

“To stress a point – Pogos are offshore gaming operators, while Pogo service providers are typical Philippine-based BPO companies that are purely paid service fees,” Aspap said.

While its members are awaiting Pagcor’s official communication before operating at 30 percent capacity, Aspap said its priority is to start cleaning and disinfecting all workplaces.

Responding to claims that Pogo service providers expose people to high risks of infection, the group stressed that due to strict precautionary measures adopted by Aspap members during the pandemic’s early stages, none of its local and Chinese workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

Edited by TSB


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