Makati gov’t raids, closes down illegal POGO

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 09 2020 01:05 AM | Updated as of Jul 09 2020 07:41 AM

MANILA - The Makati City government has issued a closure order against an illegally operating Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) that was discovered by police and city personnel at a residential condominium last Monday. 

Representatives of the city business permits and licensing office on Wednesday posted the order outside the unit used by the Hua Xin POGO located at the 5th floor of the building in J. Victor Street, Bgy. Pio Del Pilar. 

The city government said the establishment had no business or mayor's permit to operate and also violated quarantine protocols. 

Authorities, acting on complaints from neighbors, had found dozens of foreigners in the unit accessing online gambling sites through rows of computers. 

Makati Police chief Col. Oscar Jacildo told ABS-CBN News the POGO firm had been operating for months even during the lockdown. 

The 50 Chinese and one Myanmar national who were arrested face charges of disobedience to authority, illegal gambling, and violations of a city ordinance on physical distancing and the Cybercrime Prevention Act. 

Last May 5, Metro Manila police raided another illegal POGO at a residential building in Bgy. Olympia. 

Over 60 Chinese and more than a dozen Filipinos were arrested then.

The city government said its business permits office conducts routing inspections to ensure businesses comply with quarantine guidelines.

The Philippine government has allowed POGOs to operate amid the lockdown to help raise funds for its COVID response. 

Howeve, it has imposed restrictions on POGOs such as ensuring their taxes are paid. 

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) which oversees the operation of POGOs, said at least one firm has left the country following the stricter protocols.