Solidarity in the time of COVID-19 -- MS Supplement
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ASPAP rejects claim that government behind POGO workers’ testing

The Accredited Service Providers of PAGCOR denounced the proliferation of misleading information on COVID-19 testing of POGO workers, even as it reiterated that expenses for such tests are borne exclusively by them.

“In compliance with the protocols for the limited resumption of POGO operations laid down by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) our members are conducting COVID-19 tests on POGO workers at zero cost to the government,” said ASPAP spokesperson Margarita Gutierrez.

Gutierrez made the statement on the heels of reports through social media post, alleging that the local government was behind COVID-19 tests of POGO staff done in an exclusive subdivision in Parañaque City.

The Paranaque City Administrator has categorically said that the city government “would not spend a single cent for the purpose of mass testing for POGOs.”

Earlier, Malacanang said it was leaving such initiative in the hands of the private sector amid rumors of public fund use for the tests.

“The public can rest easy that mass testing of POGO employees is a purely private undertaking conducted at the expense of the respective employers to ensure they are free from the virus, for everyone’s safety,” she added.

Gutierrez said any insinuation of preferential treatment accorded to POGOs is not only erroneous but also irresponsible.

“May we also remind everyone that under Sec. 6 of the Bayanihan to Heal Act (RA 11469), anybody ‘spreading false information regarding the COVID-19 crisis on social media and other platforms’ faces possible imprisonment of up to two months and a fine of up to P1 million,” Gutierrez added.

Earlier, ASPAP vowed to comply with all the health, safety and tax requirements the government had imposed for the resumption of POGO operations in the country.

ASPAP has also formed a task force to assists authorities in the crackdown against non-registered offshore gaming operators (NOGOs) conducting illegal online gaming activities, stressing that their existence is prejudicial to the interest of legitimate POGO service providers.

“Despite the government’s decision to ease restrictions, let us be mindful that the threat of COVID-19 persists. It is only by working together that we can defeat this pandemic. Sowing disunity and discontent will only hinder our progress on the road to recovery,” Gutierrez added.

Topics: Accredited Service Providers , PAGCOR , COVID-19 , POGO , Bayanihan to Heal Act , Margarita Gutierrez
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