MANILA – A slowdown in construction of new office buildings is seen this year with the government’s stricter measures on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) activities in the country, a real estate advisory firm’s executive said.
In a forum of the German Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. on Thursday, Santos Knight Frank Senior Director for Office Services and Commercial Agency Morgan McGilvary said office and residential space developers will be affected by the current situation of the POGO industry here.
McGilvary said POGOs are taking up 10 percent of the office market in central business districts and they have supported the sector when the demand from business process outsourcing (BPO) companies has eased.
POGOs have also occupied areas that are less attractive to traditional office space tenants, such as Ayala’s Circuit Makati, which is away from the major roads in the Makati CBD, McGilvary noted.
Since POGOs employ mostly Chinese citizens who are renting condominiums in Metro Manila, the residential market will be hit also with the government’s stricter measures in POGO.
Many Chinese citizens involved in POGO activities in the country went back to China for the Chinese New Year but found a hard time to return to Manila because of the coronavirus outbreak. This situation alone is slowing down POGO operations in the country, he said.
“There’s a pretty massive slowdown in POGO. Workers are in China, some residential buildings are becoming anti-POGO, flights are not coming here because of the coronavirus, so, they have fewer employees,” he added.
But McGilvary said landlords have already collected about 12 to 24 months of payment from the online gaming operators, securing the firm’s finances once a crackdown happens.
BPO tenants are paying only up to six months of advance payment, he added.
McGilvary said the Philippines became a favorite destination of online gaming operators from China with the physical proximity from the mainland, while the government, people, and the environment are “friendly” to POGO activities. (PNA)