Sherwin Gatchalian

Flush out POGO-linked illegal businesses, LGUs urged

May 21, 2024 Camille P. Balagtas 65 views

SENATOR Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian urged local government units (LGUs) hosting Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) to flush out illegal establishments in their respective localities following the raid of an illegal hospital allegedly catering to victims of POGO-related crimes.

“The business permit or the mayor’s permit is precisely to enable LGUs concerned to monitor and keep track of all businesses operating within their localities. Our mayors should be able to clear out illegal establishments operating in their cities and municipalities,” said Gatchalian, himself a former mayor of Valenzuela City.

The senator made the statement following a raid recently conducted by the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) of an illegal hospital operating at Hobbies of Asia building, a stone’s throw away from the Senate office in Pasay City. The hospital, located amongst several restaurants, was being operated by foreign doctors and nurses not licensed to practice their profession in the country.

“POGOs are creating an underground illegal community,” he noted, emphasizing that LGUs should take a more active role in monitoring establishments and ensure that they can make a clean sweep of their localities as far as illegal establishments are concerned.

“Ano pa ang silbi ng mayor’s permit o business permit kung hindi naman namomonitor nang husto o napipigilan ng mga LGU ang mga iligal na gawain sa kanilang mga lugar,” he said.

Also, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), which supervises LGUs, should take a more active role in overseeing LGUs. “There should be a sense of urgency in terms of investigating and fact-finding by the DILG,” Gatchalian said.

The Senate is investigating the alleged links of Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo to the operation of two POGOs, now termed Internet Gaming Licensees (IGL), in her town which were raided in March this year and February last year.

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos has recently ordered the National Police Commission (Napolcom) to remove the police power of Bamban Mayor Guo.