In the Philippines, the government agency tasked with accrediting buildings for the nation’s numerous special economic zones has reportedly revealed that it wants to stop online gambling operators and their ancillaries from setting up shop in its certified Manila locations.

According to a report from the Manila Bulletin newspaper, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) would like to prevent online gambling businesses and those that supply these firms with support from using its accredited information technology parks and buildings in and around the nation’s capital so as to protect the agency from being tinged by any future scandal.

“Since the PEZA board will not allow online gaming, [building owners] should stop allowing the lessee to occupy the accredited buildings,” Charito Plaza, Director General for PEZA, told the newspaper.

Plaza also reportedly told the Manila Bulletin that there are currently over 100 online gambling enterprises operating in PEZA-accredited buildings in metropolitan Manila with the majority acting under the authority of the Cagayan Special Economic Zone And Freeport and the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone And Freeport development promotion enterprises. She explained that these businesses are utilizing National Capital Region premises as they await construction to be completed on more suitable sites nearer their homes in northern Luzon.

In the future, the newspaper moreover reported that PEZA intends to cancel its accreditation of any metropolitan Manila building found to be hosting an online gambling enterprise even if the tenant has received a license from the Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation regulator. Plaza allegedly declared that the landlord of any suspected property would first receive a cease-and-desist notice as the agency does not believe the promotion of online gambling is included in its mandate.

The Manila Bulletin additionally reported that the move from PEZA follows the rounding up of some 1,316 allegedly illegal workers in November that were said to have been part of running an illicit online gambling operation in the Clark Freeport Zone near Angeles City, which is located around 60 miles north of Manila.

Meanwhile, the newspaper also cited a recent report from local firm Leechiu Property Consultants Incorporated that showed about 39% of the 13.4 million sq ft of available office space in metropolitan Manila was currently contained in PEZA-accredited buildings while the online gambling sector accounts for the second highest rate of demand behind firms involved in business outsourcing.

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