'Stronger case' to expel POGOs after discovery of 'scam hub': senator

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 01 2023 06:12 PM


MANILA — Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday said the government now "has a stronger case" to expel Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) following the discovery that a POGO company has been involved in alleged human trafficking and crypto-currency scams.

“To be honest about it, this brings international shame to us. The Philippines is becoming a scam hub and POGOs are being used as a front for criminal activities including human trafficking,” Gatchalian said.

The senator was referring to a human trafficking case recently uncovered at a POGO hub in Clark, Pampanga, where over 1,000 foreign nationals working as scammers were rescued.

During a Senate panel hearing Tuesday, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said POGOs have become "legal cover" for "scam hubs" in the country as she called out the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) for alleged failure to prevent the new "modus."

Gatchalian said the incident proves that Pagcor has failed to do its job in monitoring POGOs engaging in illegal activities.

“Malinaw na hindi napipigilan ng Pagcor ang mga maling gawain ng mga POGO at habang nananatili sa bansa ang mga POGO hindi malayong dumami pa ang mga krimen na kasasangkutan nila,” he said. 

“Our resolve to ban POGO operations in the country has become greater now that we have established the fact that the industry is being used as a front for nefarious activities undertaken by organized criminal groups,” Gatchalian emphasized.


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