DOJ starts deportation of ‘overstaying’ foreign nationals working in POGOs

BACK TO CHINA. Six Chinese nationals working in Philippine Overseas Gaming Operations (POGO) board a van that will take them to the airport as part of their deportation on Wednesday (Oct. 19, 2022). The initial target for deportation this month is set at 3,000 foreign nationals. (Photo courtesy of Karen VIllanda/PTV)

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has started the deportation of illegally overstaying Chinese nationals working in Philippine Overseas Gaming Operations (POGO) firms. Six of them were deported home on Wednesday via Philippine Air Lines flight PR 316.

 In an update to Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla, BI Commissioner Norman Tansingco identified the six as Yu Min, 36; Nie Zhengbiao, 31; Gan Xueliang, 29; Xu Yuangang, 25; Qian Jie, 33 and Yang Bin, 23.

The six men were turned over by the Philippine National Police-Pampanga to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and were among an estimated 40,000 former POGO workers found overstaying in the country and due for deportation.

According to DOJ, 175 such foreign workers in POGOs with terminated licenses will have to be sent home. The initial target for deportation this month is set at 3,000 foreign nationals.

Tansingco said BI has canceled the visas of 1,424 foreign nationals who worked for POGOs the licenses of which have been revoked by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

The 1,424 foreign nationals form part of more than 48,000 POGO employees whose visas were canceled.

“We have prioritized the cancellation of those who have valid and existing visas, and are still in the country. We are still cross-checking our database to see which ones are still in the country,” he explained.

Tansingco also said they have included the names of the 1,424 in their derogatory database to ensure that they downgrade their visas and leave the country within 60 days.

He added that those who fail to leave the country within the set period may be arrested and deportation proceedings will be initiated against them. He also vowed to ensure that illegal aliens in the country will be arrested and deported.