Gatchalian chides Pagcor over inaction vs POGO scams, cites corruption as main reason
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Tuesday questioned why it took the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) four years to investigate the crimes committed at Clark Sun Valley Hub in Pampanga.
During an inquiry by the Senate Committee on women, children, family relations, and gender equality on human trafficking, Gatchalian noted Clark Sun Valley Hub was given accreditation in 2019.
However, after four years, law enforcement agencies still needed to be stationed within the area.
“Just put BI (Bureau of Immigration) and PNP (Philippine National Police) diyan. Wala na tayong problema ngayon. Why take four years of inaction? Kahit anong sabihin niyo, if you are corrupt, kahit POGO hub pa ‘yan or whatever concept you want to develop, it’s not gonna work,” said Gatchalian.
(Just put BI and PNP there, and we would have no problem. Why take four years of inaction? No matter what you say, if you are corrupt, even if it’s a POGO hub or whatever concept you want to develop, it’s not gonna work.)
Early this month, police raided Colorful and Leap Group Company in Clark Sun Valley Hub.
They rescued 919 foreigners and 171 Filipino employees.
In Tuesday’s hearing, Pagcor monitoring and enforcement group vice president Robert Lucquiao said the government-owned and controlled gaming corporation routinely inspects POGO hubs twice a week.
However, Gatchalian immediately pointed out how Pagcor could still fail to discover criminal activities within the hubs’ buildings, if Pagcor was frequently monitoring the place.
His question came following the rescue of 1,090 individuals during a police raid at the Colorful and Leap Group Company in Clark Sun Valley Hub.
He said corruption was the main reason why the company’s operation went on for a very long time.
“There are only two POGO hubs in the whole Philippines, and you need to inspect it twice. So, paano nangyari na itong 1,000 plus victims, nakalampas sa inspection ninyo (so how did it happen that these 1,000+ victims passed your inspection)?” asked Gatchalian.
“This brings international shame to us. The Philippines is becoming a scam hub. Hindi (not) POGO hub. POGOs are being used as fronts for scams, for human trafficking because Pagcor is corrupt and not doing its job,” he said.
The rescued persons were allegedly forced to work in a “fraudulent cyber-enabled industry,” victimizing other people to invest in cryptocurrencies.