Palace sees nothing wrong with Pogo hubs near military camps

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang sees nothing wrong with the presence of Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogo) hubs near military camps even after a lawmaker warned about its risk to national security.

“Military camps? Di lalong magaling kung nasa military camps dahil binabantayan sila ng military for their protection,” Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in an ambush interview Thursday.

But when pressed about the risk posed by Chinese-dominated online gaming operations near military installations, Panelo said he would defer to National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

“The Palace will always defer to the National Security Adviser on matters of security in the country,” he said.

Sought for comment on Panelo’s statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said, “That’s a very valid suggestion. But it is not the job of the military to watch or protect the POGO workers.”

“That is the job of the Bureau of Immigration, Police, DOLE (Department of Labor and Employment and the Bureau of Internal Revenue. If our assistance is requested we will assist,” Lorenzana added. has  also sought comment from Esperon but has yet to respond as of this posting.

Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Rep. Jericho “Koko” Nograles earlier raised concern about Chinese-run Pogo hubs near military camps, saying these could have implications on the country’s national security.

“Primarily, [Pogos] should stay away from sensitive areas like the AFP and our security-risk areas,” Nograles said in a television interview.  /muf