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PAGCOR shuts down two POGOS as 140 more foreign workers rescued from detainment

September 19, 2022 Philippines Crime & Legal

Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR says it has ordered the closure of two Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), and revoked the license of one after more than 140 foreign workers were rescued over the weekend.

The operations, in Angeles City and Pasig City, come just days after multiple government agencies met last week to solidify a new inter-agency collaboration aimed at stamping out “illegal POGO-related crimes” following reports of an increase in kidnappings linked to online gaming operators.

According to information released by PAGCOR, a three-way joint operation conducted alongside the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Saturday saw 40 foreign nationals working in an illegal POGO firm in Angeles City rescued and the POGO closed. The workers have been turned over to the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to have their documents and working permits checked.

PAGCOR also said it has revoked the license of a POGO service provider called Crimson Tulip BPO, Inc in Pasig City following the rescue of more than 100 workers who had been kidnapped and illegally detained.

The NBI and BI had been alerted to their situation by the Chinese Embassy, with the detained workers comprising 70 Chinese nationals, 44 Filipinos, 16 Vietnamese, two Taiwanese and a Malaysian who had all allegedly been forced into work.

PAGCOR said the regulation of the POGO industry in 2016 has provided a boost to the economy across multiple sectors, including “real estate, food, transportation, construction and telecommunication,” among others.

However, recently appointed PAGCOR chief Alejandro Tengco has warned that failure to address issues of kidnapping and human trafficking could see the entire POGO industry wound down.

“If these kidnapping incidents and other illegal activities persist, it is clear that not only will we cancel the licenses of POGO operators, but the entire industry may be affected by whatever decision will emanate from the national government. So let us help each other solve these issues the soonest,” Tengco said last week.

The DILG, which has already started a crackdown against human trafficking, gave the PNP and other participating agencies a timeline of two weeks to abate all POGO-related illegal activities in the country.

PAGCOR said that the license revocation of Crimson Tulip BPO, Inc proves its commitment to help address all illegal POGO-related kidnapping cases, “as these put the legitimate POGO operations in a bad light.”

Source: https://www.asgam.com/index.php/2022/09/19/pagcor-shuts-down-two-pogos-as-140-more-foreign-workers-rescued-from-detainment/
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