BIZ BUZZ: Class war
The Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogo) industry has critics aplenty, and almost all of them have their platforms and “bully pulpits” from which to push the Marcos administration for a ban on the sector.
But who speaks effectively for the thousands of Filipinos—Pogo workers as well as those working in allied industries—who stand to lose their livelihood if the online gaming industry is shut down?
No one, apparently. So now, these workers are speaking for themselves, releasing a statement recently opposing the call of large business groups to phase out Pogos and their service providers. And they’re taking an unusual tack.
In a statement, a group that called itself “Pinoy sa POGO” called business organizations advocating for the closure of the industry “anti-poor” and “elitist.”
One officer of the association said the poor workers who stand to lose their jobs seem to be the last thing on the minds of these wealthy businessmen.
“They’ve never experienced hunger or lack of money to send their children to school so they don’t care about us,” Karen Santa Cruz said in the statement, explaining that the real social cost that ending Pogos entails is the unemployment that the move will create.
She said closing Pogos would result in job losses for thousands of Filipino encoders, dealers, housekeeping staff, drivers, cooks and waiters.
In its statement, Pinoy sa POGO urged President Marcos to help these Filipino workers.
“We have well-paying jobs, Mr. President,” Santa Cruz said. “We are pleading for your help by not allowing big business groups to take away our jobs and ruin the future of our families especially now that Christmas is just around the corner.”
“Aside from the illegal practice of ‘endo’, many elitist members of these business groups don’t even pay their workers and household staff decent salaries and benefits,” she said. “Yet, they want to take away regular, well-paying jobs of Pogo workers. Will they support our families if we’re jobless?”
Well? Will they? Abangan! —Daxim L. Lucas
GBF’s 30th year
In 1992, Gokongwei brothers John, Johnson, Henry and James donated significant portions of their stocks in JG Summit Holdings to establish the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF), with the mission to “build the future through education.”
The brothers did so as they believe that quality education “is the foundation in establishing a strong Philippine economy.” The foundation has thus committed itself to contribute to the country’s progress by supporting Science and Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
“With our common goal of making lives better, GBF creates meaningful breakthroughs in the field of education,” said Lance Gokongwei, GBF chair and head of the Gokongwei Group.
As GBF celebrates its 30th year in 2022, it has renewed its commitment to help build the country’s future through STEM education. The goal is to take part in the learning journey of 10,000 educators and one million learners by 2025.
To date, GBF is the largest private sector provider of STEM scholarships in the country, supporting a total of 1,841 STEM scholars, 1,116 of whom have already graduated.
Among GBF’s programs is the STEM Scholarship for Excellence, given to underprivileged and deserving STEM college students from centers of excellence. Some 82 percent of graduates go on to work at Gokongwei Group of companies that include Universal Robina Corp. and Cebu Pacific.
Clearly, much has been achieved, but GBF general manager Lisa Gokongwei Cheng stressed that challenges in the education sector abound.
“As the founder generation has built—against all odds—a leading business in the nation, we hope we can play our part in educating a generation of Filipinos ready to take on the challenges of a new world,” she added. —Tina Arceo-Dumlao
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