PH now a ‘hotbed of human trafficking’ due to Pogos, says Gatchalian
MANILA, Philippines— Because of the continued presence of offshore gaming operations in the country, the Philippines has now become a “hotbed of human trafficking,” Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said on Tuesday.
Gatchalian, who has been calling for a permanent ban on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogos), made this declaration following a raid on a suspected Pogo facility in Las Pinas City.
The raid resulted in the rescue of more than 2,000 Filipino and foreign workers who were allegedly victims of human trafficking.
For Gatchalian, this is “another testament that Pogos’ involvement in criminal activities has become rampant, and necessitates their immediate expulsion from the country.”
“Because we have allowed Pogos to maintain operations in the country, the Philippines has become a hotbed of human trafficking. Pogo hubs, in effect, have been given a free license to engage in criminal activities because of Pagcor’s (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) utter incompetence in supervising the operations of Pogos,” he said in a statement.
“Undoubtedly, the industry poses a huge threat to the country’s peace and order situation, endangering both local and foreign nationals. Hindi na dapat madagdagan pa ang mga biktima ng Pogo sa bansa. Paalisin na ang mga Pogo sa lalong madaling panahon!” the senator added.
As chairman of the Senate committee on ways and means, Gatchalian led the probe on the socio-economic impact of offshore gaming operations in the country.
He later came out with a committee report where he recommended the closure of all Pogos in the country.
“The Filipino people stand to lose more than they will gain from allowing Pogos to continue operating in the Philippines. In light of this, we recommend the permanent banning of offshore gaming operations in the Philippines,” Gatchalian said when he reported the committee report to the Senate plenary last March.