PORT FOLIO Column: Ramon Cuyco Column


(Part III)

Jan 10, 2023, 12:25 AM
Ramon Cuyco

Ramon Cuyco


PROPOSED TO BE pilot-tested in the Island of Mindanao—or even in selected sites in the Visayas, this GAMING AGENDA TO MAXIMIZE ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY IN PROVINCIAL HUBS (GAMESPH), should have the following components if it is to respond to perceived social ills however anecdotal, while enhancing the social goods that go with it often overlooked by POGO critics. The salient features are:

Administrative Legalization and Social Reintegration of Overstaying Migrants to account for overstaying foreign migrants or aliens with imperfect travel documents. We cannot manage what we cannot measure. We need to have a real count for which all uncollected migration-related fees will now be collected. This will enable the government to collect more non-traditional sources of revenue, while allowing the Immigration Bureau to have a more accurate handle on overstaying aliens in the country.

Issuance of a gaming-dedicated VISA under Section 9(g) of the Philippine Immigration Act (CA 613) to ensure that gaming attendants will not freely roam around areas outside of gaming hubs, unless properly documented by the BI. Immigration agents must be posted side-by-side with the LGU’s police and security sectors within the gates or the Hubs to forestall criminal activities.

But the more immediate effect of this component is that holders of purely tourist visas will not be lumped together with those who have been unfairly tagged as troublesome POGO workers. As earlier said, crimes may have been committed by foreigners against their fellow foreigners, but it should not be made to smear tourists or foreign migrants who came her under Section 9(a) of the Philippine Immigration Act: “a temporary visitor coming for business or for pleasure or for reasons of health.”

Cultural immersion must be prescribed as continuing engagement to ensure acculturation of gaming-attendants to the societal make- up and sensitivities of Filipinos prior to their assignment/fielding in the GAMESPH sites or venues. This will ensure the mainstreaming of these foreign migrants into the Filipino psyche as they deal with their gaming-duties within the Hub—or, even, outside the fenced-in gaming areas whenever permitted so as not to cause any irritant and obviate undesirability.

Auxiliary Service Providers Accreditation System must be defined and established to ensure that only those accredited by the Hub Operators shall be allowed to supply services and other provisions within the confines of the fenced-in areas of the Hub. Filipino first, so to speak. This must be monitored by the Project Monitoring Office (PMO) to ensure that the job generation potential of the program will prioritize the locals in the LGUs hosting the GAMESPH.

Migration Assistance will be assured by establishing or co-locating a BI Satellite Monitoring Office in every GAMESPH site or venue, where Immigration Underguards—or BI-LGU “force multipliers” will be made available.

Closely monitored movement of enrolled migrants while outside the gaming venue. A Mindanaoan must be employed as “Accredited Tourist Guide” for every gaming-attendant who wish to get out of the gaming site, to ensure their ingress and egress to and from the site are properly documented for security reasons.

This would create jobs for Mindanao as “migration-tourism-security” attendants at one-for-every-gaming-attendant (1:1) basis.

Moratorium on the processing of new VUA. – Until such time that the VUA is adequately revisited, reviewed, rebooted, and/or reverted to its original concept of employment-related travel authorization, application and/or processing of VUA shall remain suspended.

Project Monitoring Office to be hosted by the HUB Operator where all national government agencies that may have a mandate to pursue in connection with GAMESPH operation are operating under one-roof, namely BI, BIR, DOLE, IACAT, DOT, LGU, etc.

Fenced-in or secured areas of operation shall be properly monitored by Immigration, Police, IACAT, Quarantine, security, as well as LGU authorities to ensure the viability of tourism and gaming estate.

An area measuring 15-20 hectares for GAMESPH Pilot in Samal Island Tourism Estate in Davao Province, or in similar areas in the Visayas—or a smaller hectarage in case the GAMESPH is confined to well-defined fenced-in areas or secluded from the indiscriminate access of the general populace.

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