‘Chinese kidnapping shows negatives of POGO outweighing positives’
MANILA, Philippines — For Senator Joel Villanueva, the rising incidence of kidnappings involving Chinese nationals in the Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGO) industry shows that the industry’s negative effects to the country outweigh the benefits.
Citing previous statements of police officials regarding the rise of kidnapping incidents of Chinese POGO workers, Villanueva said that the they were “mostly committed by fellow Chinese nationals.”
“[The pronouncements of police officials] support our theory that the negative effects of the industry outweigh any benefit that the country may get from the proliferation of POGOs and POGO service providers, which employ mostly Chinese nationals,” Villanueva, who chairs the Senate committee on labor, said in a statement.
“As explained by the police, one of the reasons why this crime is happening is the seemingly unfamiliarity of Chinese employers to our existing laws,” he added.
However, Ignorance of the law, Villanueva said, excuses no one.
“I don’t know of any country where kidnapping is legal. It is the responsibility of these Chinese nationals operating in the country to familiarize themselves and abide by our laws, particularly labor laws,” he explained.
The senator then called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) to remain vigilant and to prevent further kidnapping crimes from happening again.
He also called on the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to continue its labor inspections on offices, particularly POGO facilities.
Villanueva said the labor department must enforce the country’s labor laws and regulations to protect workers.
“We intend to include the information from the police on the rising incidences of Chinese kidnappings at the labor committee hearing we will hold in January,” Villanueva said.
“We hope to establish the breadth and scale of the negative effects of POGO operations in the country,” he added.
Records from the PNP-Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG) show that there were six “POGO-related kidnappings” from January to November 2019.
Eight of the nine victims have been rescued while 30 suspects, mostly Chinese nationals, have been arrested.
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