Press Release
August 28, 2019

Good suggestion from China: Revoke POGO licenses -- Kiko
'It is the Philippine government that is condoning the operations of criminal syndicates'

MANILA -- As the President leaves for a China visit, Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan on Tuesday called on the Philippine government to revoke the licenses of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) in the Philippines.

"Tama naman ang China rito. Kanselahin na ang lisensya ng mga POGO on concerns of criminality and corruption. Iligal ito sa China. Ibig sabihin, mga Chinese criminal ang nagpapatakbo ng mga POGO dito sa Pilipinas. (China is correct here. Cancel the POGO licenses on concerns of criminality and corruption. Gambling is illegal in China. This means that Chinese criminals run the POGOs here in the Philippines)," Pangilinan said.

"It is the Philippine government that is condoning the operations of criminal syndicates. Nakakaduda tuloy kung totoo nga ba anti-crime and anti-corruption campaign ng administrasyong ito dahil pinapayagan ang mga Chinese criminal na malayang magsagawa ng mga iligal na negosyo dito sa atin (The sincerity of the anti-crime and anti-corruption campaign of this administration is placed in serious doubt with Chinese criminal syndicates being allowed to conduct illegal businesses freely in our midst)," he added.

He also noted that the last few months saw an increase in crime reports involving POGO players and financiers who break the law but do not allow themselves to be subjected to our laws.

"Meron pa ngang mga ulat ng pansamantalang pagpapakulong sa ating mga p ulis at hindi pinapayagang imbestigahan ang mga pinangyarihan ng krimen. Ito ay ng pambabastos na hindi natin dapat pinapalampas (There were even reports of our local police being detained and were not allowed to investigate crime scenes. This is the height of disrespect, which we should not take sitting down)," the senator said.

Pangilinan also pointed out that the pervasive presence of Chinese POGO workers in our neighborhoods has also fueled racial antagonism among local residents, who rightfully detest some of the foreigners' dirty habit of smoking, among others.

"Meron ding mga isyu ng pananamantala sa mga manggagawang Tsino, ng mga iresponsableng operator at ng di-pagbayad ng buwis sa industriyang ito. Di dapat binabalewala ang mga ito (There are issues as well of exploited Chinese workers, fly-by-night operators, and non-payment of taxes in this industry. All these should not be ignored)," he added.

At the same time, Pangilinan stressed that no less than Philippine defense officials have raised the possibility of these POGOs being used to spy on Filipinos.

"Kritikal ang masasalimuot na isyung nakakabit sa mga POGO operation. Di patas sa kinikita ng gobyerno (The complex issues connected to POGO operations are critical and could outweigh the earnings government rake in)," he said.

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