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Archbishop hits reopening of POGOs amid quarantine

Archbishop hits reopening of POGOs amid quarantine

Archbishop Martin Jumoad of Ozamis. COURTESY OF BRENDA MILAN

By CBCP News

May 5, 2020

Manila, Philippines

A church official has criticized the government’s decision to allow the reopening of online gambling even amid the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

Archbishop Martin Jumoad of Ozamis could not hold his frustration that authorities allow gambling during the quarantine, while religious services remain banned.

“Our leaders may want to change our name from the only predominantly Christian nation in the Far East to gambling capital in the Far East,” Jumoad said.

Online gambling companies, also known in the country as POGOs for Philippine offshore gambling operators, will be allowed to open again provided that they follow the precautionary measures.

The Philippine gaming regulator made the decision after POGOs were labeled as business process outsourcing (BPOs), which is allowed in quarantine areas.

POGOs cater mainly to Chinese online bettors.

The government had banned mass gatherings to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, fresh calls have surfaced to allow church services as long as health and safety protocols are in place, particularly in areas under the general community quarantine.

The archbishop lamented that the government preferred to allow gambling “which breeds vice and not the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with our people”.

“My point is allow the celebration of Holy Eucharist in areas under GCQ with precautions,” Jumoad.

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