Hontiveros

POGOs den of foreign fugitives — Hontiveros

April 24, 2024 Camille P. Balagtas 100 views

SENATOR Risa Hontiveros yesterday inspected a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) firm in Bamban, Tarlac, after it was raided for human trafficking and serious illegal detention cases.

The senator was then informed by the Philippine Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) that six Chinese fugitives were found on the premises of Zun Yuan Technology, Inc., all of whom were running love scams and cryptocurrency investment scams inside the compound.

“POGOs are a hotspot of fugitives. Lungga ng mga kriminal. Hindi ko maintindihan kung bakit hanggang ngayon, hindi mapalayas nang tuluyan ang industriyang ito. Sino ba protektor ng mga ito? Bakit parang hirap na hirap ang gubyerno na kumilos?” Hontiveros said.

The POGO hub in Bamban, similar to other scam facilities previously raided, also had offices outfitted with computer workstations, along with instructional guides and scripts used to conduct love scams and crypto schemes.

Rows of iPhones and Android smartphones hanging on metal racks were also found, together with numerous SIM cards, presumably used for fraudulent transactions.

“Gingamit talaga bilang legal cover ang POGO ng mga sindikatong scammer. At kahit pa ligal na POGO, hindi ikinaganda ng Pilipinas ang pag-welcome sa mga sugalang ito. Simula pa lang, nakita na natin na mas pinalala lang ng mga POGO ang mga sakit ng ating lipunan,” Hontiveros said.

A Senate resolution was filed by Hontiveros citing the results of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality that the Visa Upon Arrival (VUA) scheme was being abused by Chinese POGO workers who wanted to enter the Philippines unchecked.

The senator said it is possible that the VUA continues to be exploited considering that 295 foreign workers were found in Tarlac.

“Itong mga na-rescue, nakapasok ba dahil sa VUA noong panahon pa ng Pastillas scam o may bagong kababalaghan na naman na hindi pa natin alam?” the senator said.

“Human trafficking is part of their business model. Sa Pastillas scam findings ng komite, business partner ang mga tiwali sa Immigration. Hanggang ngayon ba may modus pa rin? May business partner narin ba na mga LGU?

Mula noon hanggang ngayon, hindi natin napakinabangan ang mga POGO. Puro sakit sa ulo ang dala sa bansa. The Executive should order the immediate ban of POGOs now,” Hontiveros said.