PAGE 2019 (the Phil-Asian Gaming Expo) at SMX Convention Center in Pasay on July 12-14, 2019. Photo by Rappler

In contrast to what the government recently claimed, an IT group emphasized that Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) aren’t classified under the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque recently said that POGOs are under the BPO industry, following the government’s decision to allow the partial resumption of POGO operations even if this doesn’t fall under the list of essential services amid the general community quarantine (GCQ).

The IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), the largest organization of business process outsourcing companies noted four key differences between BPOs and POGOs.

The IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) is the largest organization of business process outsourcing companies in the country.

“BPO companies are registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority or the Board of Investments, while POGOs are registered with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor).

The group further noted that even though BPOs and POGOs are similar when it comes to “offshoring nature,” the latter “do so because they are allegedly unable to practice their betting or gambling functions in their respective shores.”

“IT-enabled jobs BPO companies create are of much higher value, requiring a range of technical, domain, and soft skills. This is also very different from the work done by the game development sector which is sometimes mistaken as having similarities due to the gaming notion,” the IBPAP further noted.

IBPAP also said that BPOs leverage the country’s human capital including English and technical skills, customer service orientation, compassion, and the ability to adapt to foreign cultures.

“This, in turn, has directly benefited millions of Filipinos by providing them with better employment opportunities throughout the years,” the group added.

Chinese-backed POGOs have repeatedly been linked to illegal activities and crimes including human trafficking, money laundering, and drugs. This led senators and other government officials to appeal to the Duterte administration to shutdown POGO operations in the country.

However, Duterte, who has vocally expressed his support to the Chinese government and its interests, downplayed the call, saying that POGOs are “clean.”

The government gave the go signal for the resumption of POGO operations recently, noting that its income will be beneficial to augment the country’s funds for COVID-19 measures.

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