POGO workers rescued in Angeles to be deported: BI

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 20 2022 02:21 PM

 About 40 foreign POGO workers were rescued in a raid in Angeles City, Pampanga on Sept. 17, 2022. PAGCOR handout
About 40 foreign POGO workers were rescued in a raid in Angeles City, Pampanga on Sept. 17, 2022. PAGCOR handout

MANILA — Several foreigners who were rescued during operations against unlawful Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) in Luzon are set to be deported, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Tuesday.

Forty-one foreign nationals who were rescued in Angeles, Pampanga over the weekend are currently at the BI’s detention facility in Taguig while awaiting deportation, said BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval.

“Bukod sa criminal aspect ng kanilang ginawa… nakita din po during the inspection na marami sa kanila ay undocumented, overstaying po o kaya mayroong work visa na hindi tugma sa kanilang pinagtratrabahuhan ngayon,” Sandoval said of the foreigners.

Several others were also caught in a separate National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) operation on Sept. 16, she said.

Some of these workers claimed to travel to the Philippines as tourists but incurred “violations of the conditions of their stay,” she said.

The developments came following reports of abduction and forced work of some Chinese nationals in the country, prompting a Senate panel to look into the allegations last week. 

Senator Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa said some POGOs are run by criminal syndicates, possibly from other Asian countries, which was why they are emboldened to commit these crimes. 

Dela Rosa called for stricter measures to regulate POGO operations, because even some of those registered are allegedly involved in these crimes.

Immigration chief Norman Tansingco ordered a strict screening of foreigners arriving from Cambodia and Vietnam in light of the reported increase in kidnappings and extortion activities from syndicates supposedly hailing from those countries, the bureau said in a statement.

The official directed immigration officers to immediately refer for secondary inspection foreign nationals who have doubtful purpose of travel to the Philippines, the statement read.

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