Gatchalian urges LGUs to stand against Pogos
MANILA, Philippines — Make a stand against Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos), Senator Sherwin Gatchalian pushed local government units (LGUs) on Tuesday.
Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate committee on ways and means which held deliberations on Pogos, earlier recommended the immediate ban of the industry in the Philippines.
“Once crime happens in your jurisdiction, it’s the mayor’s responsibility and the local chief of police’s responsibility. So, it becomes a local issue and it becomes the problem of the community,” the senator said in a statement.
He said that LGUs where Pogos are prevalent, such as Manila, Pasay, and Parañaque, have seen the negative impacts of Pogo operations.
According to previous reports, there was a spate of abductions in connection to the Pogo industry.
Groups that are capable of kidnapping and illegally detaining individuals, Gatchalian pointed out, are criminal syndicates and not businesses.
“What we should strive for is a peaceful and orderly society, a country that we can invite our friends and tourists from abroad to come to. They will not come here if they read in the reports that people are being illegally detained,” he said.
“Only criminal syndicates can illegally detain people and that creates an environment that is not stable for all of us. I’m afraid that if we do not stop this, it will cascade to enforcers, and one day, we will have a difficult time mobilizing enforcers as well because they are already taken hold by these criminal operations,” he continued.
The senator further noted that 90 percent of Pogo workers are foreign nationals and only 10 percent are Filipinos.
“Let’s not attract investors that bring crimes. Parang kumakapit tayo sa patalim (It is like clinging to a knife). There are legitimate investors who can bring in capital investments, and increase jobs. We are not creating value for our own citizens,” he said.
Based on Gatchalian’s panel report on discussions on the industry, Filipinos “stand to lose more than they will gain from allowing Pogos to continue operating in the Philippines.”