Rescued Pogo workers exposed as illegals, face deportation - BI | Inquirer News

Rescued Pogo workers exposed as illegals, face deportation – BI

/ 04:43 PM September 20, 2022
The 43 employees of a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (Pogo) who were rescued in Angeles City, Pampanga, are now facing deportation after declaring themselves as mere tourists when they entered the country, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Tuesday.

INQUIRER file photo / ALEXIS CORPUZ

MANILA, Philippines — The 43 employees of a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (Pogo) who were rescued in Angeles City, Pampanga, now face deportation after declaring themselves as mere tourists when they entered the country, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Tuesday.

During the Laging Handa briefing, BI spokesperson Dana Sandoval said that when the foreign nationals arrived in the country, they had complete documents, but these were for people visiting the country as tourists.

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Sandoval said that this is part of why law enforcement agencies arrested the Pogo workers, as they are in the country for a different reason: work.

“No’ng dumating po sila dito is they had complete documents saying they are tourists, turista lamang po sila, ‘yon ang kanilang presentation but pagdating po nila dito, ‘yong intent nila was different from what they have presented so that’s why dito po papasok ang ating local law enforcement agencies as well as our intelligence division para hulihin po sila for violation of the condition of their stay,” Sandoval said.

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(Upon arrival, they produced vacation documents. Their goal was different from what they had shown, so law enforcement and our intelligence section would arrest them.)

“Ngayon po ito pong mga ito ay nahaharap sa deportation dahil bukod po doon sa criminal aspect na kanilang ginawa or may criminal aspect na ginawa, meron din pong immigration aspect yan,” she added.

(Apart from the criminal element, these individuals face deportation for their immigration violations.)

On September 16, Interior Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. announced the arrest of the human resources manager of Pogo along the Fil-Am Friendship Highway in Angeles City, Pampanga.

A kidnapped Chinese and 42 other foreign nationals connected with the Pogo industry were rescued.

Abalos added that foreign police counterpart notified the local police that a kidnapped Chinese, whose abductors were demanding a P1-million ransom, had been kidnapped.

READ: Kidnapped Chinese, 42 other POGO workers rescued in Pampanga — Abalos 

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The identities of the Pogo workers are now being verified, Sandoval said.

“‘Yong mga nahuli ng NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), sila po ay nag-biometric structuring na po kahapon at ni-ready na po yung mga cases against them,” she said.

(The individuals arrested by the NBI went through biometric structuring yesterday and the cases against them are currently being prepared.)

“‘Yong mga nahuli naman po sa Pampanga, 41 po yun lahat lahat. Sila po ay na-turnover na sa BI under our custody and they are currently nandoon po sa ating ward facility in Taguig,” she added.

(Meanwhile, the 41 individuals arrested in Pampanga have been turned over to the BI — under our custody — and are currently in our ward facility in Taguig.)

The rescue of 43 Pogo workers has revived calls to ban the gaming method. On Monday, Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante, a strong critic of gambling, said Pogos should be banned because of its link to crime and the dangers it poses to the country.

READ: POGOs must go amid links to criminal activities — Rep. Abante 

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, House Deputy Majority Floor Leader, and Iloilo 1st District Rep. Janette Garin also called to ban Pogos in the country, noting the gaming method’s small revenue amid the backdrop of crime involvement. With reports from Catherine Dabu, INQUIRER.net trainee

RELATED STORIES:

Move to ban POGOs gets boost from Senate head 

Solon wants Congress to ban POGOs amid links to crimes 

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TAGS: BI, Bureau of Immigration, Deportation, pogo, POGO workers, rescue
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