MANILA — Majority of victims in POGO-related crimes are Chinese-speaking individuals, according to Philippine National Police chief Benjamin Acorda.
The country's top cop reported this Wednesday to the Senate Finance Committee during the Department of Interior and Local Government and its attached agencies’ presentation of their proposed P262.010-billion budget for next year.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros quizzed Acorda on the PNP's evaluation of POGO-related crimes.
"Sino-sino ang mga majority ng victim-survivors? At kamusta na yung status nitong dalawang grupo?" Hontiveros asked.
"It is the Chinese nationals that are mostly involved in these crimes," Acorda replied.
"What is common to these rescued foreign nationals, regardless kung Vietnamese, Cambodian or Malaysian, they are all Chinese-speaking," the PNP chief said.
Many of those arrested were deported to their country of origin, according to Acorda.
Asked if there was evidence that some Chinese spies supposedly pose as POGO workers, the PNP chief said that they did not see a "threat to our national security."
"As far as the PNP is concerned, with regards to information that will directly say that there is a threat to our national security, wala pa naman tayong nakikita, especially in the presence of these POGO operations," Acorda said.
"But I am seeing also at the early stage that we can initiate measures that really the national interest is always protected, mas maganda po," he said.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian also noted that POGO-related cases victimized 38 people in 2019, 128 people in 2022, and 4,039 people in the first half of this year alone.
"What is your analysis as to why there is a sudden surge of reported number of victims for 2023 and what trends are they seeing in POGO-related crimes?" Gatchalian asked.
Acorda blamed these crimes on workers getting housed in condominiums and closed compounds that are hard to monitor.
The number can also be attributed to the government’s intensified campaign against POGO, he added.
"Crime statistics is alarming. And to my appreciation, it should be properly regulated and monitored," Acorda said, when asked if POGOs should still stay in the country.
"Kung hindi naman talaga properly regulated and monitored, mas magandang wala na po," he added.