‘Bastusan na ito’: Pangilinan wants POGOs shut, Chinese lawbreakers deported
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Wednesday called for the immediate closure of Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGOs) in the Philippines and deportation of Chinese involved in illegal activities.
Pangilinan issued the call after the latest exposé in the Senate where corrupt immigration officials allegedly received a total of 10 billion kickbacks in exchange for “VIP treatment” to arriving Chinese in the Philippines.
“Huwag nating hayaang bastusin tayo sa sariling bahay natin,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The recent exposé of blatant corruption, abuse, and trafficking surrounding the POGO industry is appalling and must not be tolerated,” the senator stressed.
Pangilinan, president of opposition Liberal Party, lamented that for the past three years, the country has already experienced an “influx of illegality.”
He cited the billions worth of illegal drugs slipping through the Bureau of Customs, the illegal immigrants claiming housing and job opportunities that should have been for Filipinos first, and the “ever-increasing cases of prostitution and sex trafficking surrounding POGO that targets our most vulnerable: women and children.”
He also mentioned the billions in tax evasion, and other reported violations of tax, labor, immigration and criminal laws by POGO operators and workers.
During last week’s hearing in the Senate, it was disclosed that the government lost an estimated P50 billion from unpaid taxes in POGO.
“Bastusan na ito. We call for the immediate deportation of all Chinese nationals involved in prostitution, corruption, bribery, and other illegal activities,” he said.
“We call for the immediate closure of POGO operations involved in said criminal acts, and for all POGO operations to undergo intensive investigation and even regulation.”
Pangilinan appealed to the government to strengthen its stand against the increasing cases of corruption within its ranks.
“Hanggang diyan lang ba ang halaga ng inyong serbisyo para sa bayan?” he asked.
“Tama na. Sobra na. Isipin natin ang mga Pilipino. Unahin natin ang mga Pilipino,” he further said.
Edited by KGA
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