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Senate backs Gatchalian’s POGO expulsion from PH

September 20, 2023 Philippines Crime & LegaliGaming & Gambling

The proposal to deport Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) from the nation has gained substantial support inside the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, under the leadership of Senator Win Gatchalian. The objective of this action is to uphold legal principles and maintain societal stability, while also ensuring the continuity of economic development.

In a press release on the Philippine Senate website, Gatchalian underscored the significance of this measure in mitigating the escalation of criminal activities linked to certain POGO enterprises.

The committee has officially submitted Committee Report No. 136, which includes the aforementioned proposal.

Gatchalian has regularly expressed support for the closure of POGOs, arguing that the financial gains derived from the business are overshadowed by criminal activities related to it. The immediate expulsion of POGO activities from the nation seems quite likely after the filing of the report.

The committee report explicitly recommends the adoption of a resolution that urges the executive department to cease POGO activities, with a focus on safeguarding the welfare of Filipino citizens and harmonizing with the government’s economic reform agenda.

Moreover, Gatchalian advocates for the labor department to explore alternate avenues of employment for Filipino POGO employees, particularly in sectors like Information Technology Business Process Outsourcing (IT-BPO) and manufacturing.

The report further urges the Bureau of Immigration to revoke the working permits of foreign POGO workers and ensure their expulsion in accordance with immigration rules.

Gatchalian emphasized that perpetrators have taken use of POGOs for illicit purposes, including human trafficking, abduction, murder, unlawful detention, kidnapping-for-ransom, theft, robbery-extortion, major bodily injuries, swindling, and grave coercion, among several others.

Based on data provided by the Philippine National Police, a total of 4,355 individuals have been identified as victims of crimes associated with POGOs from 2017 to June 30, 2023. POGO-related crimes have also resulted in the capture of over 903 individuals.

Original story: Philippine Senate

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