Philippine senator urges government not to lose time in banning POGOs

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is calling for a ban on POGOs.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is calling for a ban on POGOs.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian insists that Philippine offshore gaming operators represent a growing criminal threat.

The Philippines.- Philippine senator Sherwin Gatchalian has urged the government to act quickly on his draft report to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means calling for the ban of POGOs. Gatchalian, who chairs the committee, said POGOs were creating image of lawlessness in the country, turning off tourists and driving away investors. 

His report published last week recommended the shutdown of POGOs outfits within three months. He said he had decided to release the draft report early because kidnapping cases were still occurring. He disputed claims from the Philippine National Police that kidnappings had stopped due to increased patrols.

He said he had received a letter from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) stating that the Chinese embassy had sought help in a recent case. The victim was allegedly held captive in a POGO compound licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR). 

He emphasized the importance of informing the public, particularly communities where POGOs operate, about the incidents related to POGOs and also revealed several reports of corruption within government agencies such as the Bureau of Immigration and Bureau of Internal Revenue. He said some POGO executives travel with police escorts.

Gatchalian said: “Because this business is controversial, they need to corrupt our government officials to be allowed to enter and operate, and that may spread to other law enforcement agencies and that is scary because who do we run to if they already have our law enforcement agencies in their grip?”

See also: Survey shows 58% of Filipinos believe POGOs are harmful

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