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Filipinos not a priority? 490 Chinese POGO workers and tenants get tested for COVID-19

70 Filipinos who are working for POGO were allegedly left out of the coronavirus testing. 

  • Around 490 Chinese nationals working and residing in Clark were tested for COVID-19.
  • Senator Risa Hontiveros and netizens reacted to the news. 

490 Chinese workers residing inside the Fontana Leisure Parks in Clark Freeport Zone were tested for the coronavirus disease 2019 on May 21.

According to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group – Central Luzon Region 3 (CIDG-Region 3), the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing involved tenants in the Fontana Leisure Parks and Chinese workers of the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO).

The testing began at 4 pm on May 21 and ended around midnight on the same day.

The CIDG-3 officers said that they also collected the personal data of those tested which can be used for contact tracing.

On the other hand, the 70 Filipino employees of POGO and other tenant establishments inside the area were not tested for COVID-19.

“Obviously, the Filipino workers had contacts with the Chinese subjected to mass testing. What if some of them are COVID-19 positive? We do not have information if these Filipino workers will also be swab-tested,” a source said.

Senator Risa Hontiveros shared the news and asked why Filipinos are considered only second class citizens in their own country.

“This is wrong and should not happen,” she said in a tweet.

Hontiveros previously pushed for mass testing to be done for the Filipinos who are looking to get back to work.

“We need to test workers returning to work. This needs to be arranged by employers & DOH. We can’t ease quarantine if we‘re not doing mass testing. Na-commit nga natin sa POGO, ba’t hindi sa mga Pilipino?”

Netizens also reacted to the testing in Clark. One wondered about who paid for the tests of the Chinese citizens.

Another said that frontliners are not even prioritized in the testing but POGO workers were suddenly tested.

Others expressed their disbelief in the situation.

Fontana is owned by Macau gaming tycoon Jack Lam, who was in the Philippine spotlight in December 2016 when two Bureau of Immigration officials were accused of extorting P50 million from him for the release of the detained Chinese casino workers.

Written by J M

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