100,000 Chinese pogo workers received vaccines last year
MANILA – Filipino-Chinese civic leader Teresita Ang-See said more than 100,000 Chinese nationals working in controversial Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) in the country have received China-made vaccines last year.
Speaking at the weekly Tapatan sa Aristocrat media forum, Ms. Ang-See said as early as November last year, they have been received information Chinese nationals have already availed of the vaccines. She said she called the attention of government authorities and it may be to the Philippines’ advantage because nobody is in control of the POGO workers, the vaccines they received would also protect the Filipinos these workers associate with.
“Lahat halos ng flights na bumalik sa China, maraming Chinese nationals na COVID-19 positive kaya galit tayo sa kanila, sila naman ay galit sa atin,” she said because Chinese authorities believe these workers have gone home to seek medical treatment.
Ms. Ang-See, who founded the Movement for the Restoration of Peace and Order, a group that closely monitors crimes committed against Filipinos and Filipino-Chinese citizens, added she is just concerned of the government’s policies because inoculating Chinese nationals without the necessary approval from health authorities is tantamount to breaking the law.
“What if something goes wrong? Who administers the vaccine? What about its storage? What if there are problems with the storage and the inoculation?” she further asked.
She called for a thorough policy review as government authorities reported raids of clinics run by Chinese nationals in Makati and Bonifacio Global City.
“Aren’t they glad the Chinese treat their own citizens at their own risks? When you stop the treatment of POGO workers, where will they go? They will remain untreated and mix with our people,” she said. She, however, added she is not endorsing the practice but called on government to change its policies as authorities allow herbolarios and faith healers practice their wares why can’t they allow the Chinese to treat their own citizens.
Mrs. Ang-See said she doesn’t know how the vaccines got into the country but heard there were a lot of people who have reserved from December last year. While the Food and Drug Administration authorities didn’t find anything, the Department of Health should study measures for Chinese nationals as she underscored the need for them to be protected.
Asked of her information about the vaccines the Presidential Security Group used last September, Mrs. Ang-See she knew the vaccine came through official channels and she is of the opinion it is good for the chief executive’s protection.
“The issue could not have magnified had the government opted not to keep their actions secret,” she added.
A couple of hours later, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque said he has no information on the 100,000 Chinese nationals who have received vaccines as early as last year.
“I have no answer but if true, (we have) 100,000 less possible carriers of COVID-19,” Secretary Roque said.
Meanwhile, Philippine Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China said they will see what they can find out as they’re not in the loop.
“Regarding the 100,000, unless they came back to China and had the vaccination here in China or whether it was brought out of China, I cannot confirm or deny. I certainly don’t know,” Ambassador Sta. Romana said. (Melo M. Acuña)
Mrs. Teresita Ang-See, founder, MRPO speaking over Tapatan sa Aristocrat; Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque and Philippine Ambassador to the People's Republic of China Chito Sta. Romana (Screen grab from Presidential Spokesperson's Briefing/RTV/PCOO/Melo M. Acuna)