Porac mayor says he’s no Pogo ‘protector’

Porac mayor says he’s no Pogo ‘protector’

/ 05:45 AM June 11, 2024

‘NOINVOLVEMENT’ Mayor Jaime Capil of Porac, Pampanga, addresses a crowd during the flag-raising ceremony at the municipal hall on Monday. Capil dismissed allegations that he was protecting the Philippine offshore gaming operator hub that authorities had raided in his town. —PHOTO COURTESY OF PORAC PIO

‘NO INVOLVEMENT’ Mayor Jaime Capil of Porac, Pampanga, addresses a crowd during Monday’s flag-raising ceremony at the municipal hall. Capil dismissed allegations that he was protecting the Philippine offshore gaming operator hub that authorities had raided in his town. —photo courtesy of Porac PIO

MABALACAT CITY, PAMPANGA, Philippines — Mayor Jaime Capil of Porac town, Pampanga province, on Monday denied suggestions that he is a “protector” of a Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) raided recently by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) and different police units.

Capil raised that matter during a flag ceremony at the town hall, barely a week after more than 190 Filipino and foreign workers were rescued from Pogo hub Lucky South 99 Outsourcing Inc. at a sprawling fenced complex along Friendship Highway.


“It’s as if they’re saying we’re becoming the protector of Pogo. How can we be the protector when we didn’t allow even the simplest violation that we could have let pass?” Capil said, without referring to any accuser.


READ: Pampanga Pogo linked to scams, trafficking; 186 rescued in raid

PAOCC spokesperson Winston Casio, in a press briefing outside the 5.8-hectare Lucky South 99 compound following a second raid on June 5, did not rule out the possible culpability of Porac officials in connection with the Pogo enterprise. The PAOCC first raided the compound on June 4.

“We will check if there’s negligence on the part of local government officials. They are the first eyes and ears of the government, so if something like this is happening in their backyard, it’s up to the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) to investigate them,” Casio said.

READ: Pampanga police station chief sacked after illegal Pogo raid

No permit

Capil said his office did not issue a business permit to Lucky South 99 “because [it is on] the negative list of the [Bureau of Fire Protection or BFP].”

Porac’s public information office (PIO), in a separate statement, confirmed that Lucky South 99 had no permit to operate.


“No mayor’s permit was issued to Lucky South for 2024. As a matter of policy, Lucky South was among those establishments [on] the negative list of [BFP],” the Porac PIO said.

In early January, Capil ordered all establishments on the BFP’s negative list to “strictly comply” with the requirements for obtaining a business permit.

“Lucky South 99’s failure to comply with the mandatory requirements resulted in the nonrenewal of its mayor’s permit,” the PIO said without elaborating.

Capil said he had actually ordered an investigation into Lucky South 99 about the same time authorities raided the Pogo hub inside the multi-use Royal Garden Estate and rescued 158 foreign and 36 Filipino workers.

He also condemned the reported torture and other illegal activities at the hub and thanked the PAOCC for its operation, “since the municipality’s inspection power is limited,” he said.

According to the PAOCC, Lucky South 99, which the DILG already shut down in September 2022, had resumed operation without a license from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. since late last year.

Call for ban

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives reiterated their call to ban Pogos on Monday.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers urged the government to declare Pogos a serious threat to national security, while Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez pointed out that the recent raids in Bamban, Tarlac, and Porac, Pampanga, were proof that these gaming hubs “have become fronts for illegal activities such as money laundering, illegal immigration and employment, prostitution, extortion and kidnapping.”

“These Pogos that are banned in mainland China only brought more crimes and shame to our country. Whatever benefit we got from them is nothing compared to what they have put us in,” said Barbers, who heads the House committee on dangerous drugs.

“The worst part is when Pogo money is teamed up with drug money and used to bribe our officials to buy their silence and cooperation, put Chinese pretending to be Filipinos to high government positions, buy our agricultural lands to compromise our food security, and extend their influence to all corners of the government infrastructure,” he added.

Rodriguez called on his colleagues to approve the House measures seeking to ban Pogos—House Resolution No. 1197 which he filed, and House Bill No. 5082 filed by Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr.

The House committee on games and amusements approved these measures in February.

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“Let us take advantage of these inquiries in the Senate,” Rodriguez also said. “If the House approves our proposal soon, it will have a big chance of winning support and approval in the Senate.” —with a report from Jeannette I. Andrade

TAGS: illegal POGO, PAOCC, Porac town

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