MANILA — Forty foreign nationals working in an illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) company in Angeles City, Pampanga were rescued on Saturday after a raid by authorities, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) said.
The announcement came after a similar rescue operation was conducted at a POGO site in Cainta, Rizal on Friday, yielding more than 70 foreigners.
In a statement, PAGCOR said the raid and rescue in Angeles City was jointly carried out with the Interior and Justice departments, Philippine National Police (PNP), and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. said the operation seeks to "put an end to the POGO-related kidnappings and human trafficking cases in the country."
"Tinutugis ng ating mga kapulisan ‘yung iba pang mga implicated dito. Of course, it’s a continuing case. Ang nahuli ay isang human resource development officer kaya ako’y naniniwala na mayroon pang mas mataas. Kaya kami nandito ngayon dahil pinapasara na namin ito dahil this is an illegal establishment," Abalos said, according to the statement.
"Iyong legal na POGOs, wala tayong problema. Maganda ang kanilang patakaran, maayos ang empleyado. Ang masaklap dito ay yung mga iligal na nagbibigay ng masamang pangalan sa industriya,” he added.
The rescued foreigners will be turned over to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for the checking of their documents and working permits.
After the raid, PAGCOR and the Department of Interior and Local Government declared the said POGO establishment closed.
Meanwhile, PAGCOR also said it revoked the license of a POGO service provider in Pasig City after the rescue of the allegedly kidnapped and illegally detained workers in Cainta.
The company, Crimson Tulip BPO, was stripped of its license after the workers were rescued, most of whom were Chinese nationals, PAGCOR said.
The operation was carried out by authorities upon the request of the Chinese Embassy in Manila.
"The NBI reportedly rescued 70 Chinese, 16 Vietnamese, two Taiwanese, one Malaysian and 44 Filipinos who were allegedly forced to work in a fraudulent online POGO operations," PAGCOR said.