Crackdown on undocumented, overstaying POGO workers by the PNP

With all the media buzz and attention on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) related to crime (read my previous POGO post by clicking here), the Philippine National Police (PNP) vowed to do a crackdown on the foreign workers of POGOs which are estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands, according to a news report by the Manila Bulletin. The crackdown is supposedly a part of security measures to combat different types of crime.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

The Philippine National Police (PNP) vowed on Monday, Sept. 19, to intensify the crackdown against hundreds of thousands of foreign workers of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) as part of the security measures against kidnapping and other criminal activities related to offshore gambling in the country.

Based on the initial estimate of the PNP from the data provided by the Bureau of Immigration (BI), there were at least 800,000 Chinese in the country. most of them easily entered the Philippines when POGO operations in the country were approved.

And based on the PNP data through its Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG), the number of kidnapping cases steeply went up since 2017, most of them are POGO-related.

PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin, Jr. said the sad part of the POGO workers entry in the country in the past years is that they were not properly documented–attributing it to the privilege accorded to them wherein their visa and travel documents are approved after their arrival.

“There were an estimated 800,000 Chinese in the country and we do not know if that 800,000 are still documented. Maybe some of them are already undocumented that is why we are suggesting to the PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) to furnish us the copy o the approved POGOs so that our crackdown would be easier,” said Azurin.

PNP officials earlier met with PAGCOR and BI officials to discuss the issues related to POGO operations in the country.

A few days ago, over 40 Chinese POGO workers were rescued from the clutches of their abductors while a number of Chinese were also arrested for involvement in kidnapping and other criminal activities.

On Saturday, the PNP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) ordered a closure of POGO in Angeles City in Pampanga.

“The reason why we engaged PAGCOR and BI and even DOJ (Department of Justice) is that we really need to put our acts together. We should share information together to monitor the entry of Chinese in the country,” said Azurin.

System of Monitoring

Azurin earlier disclosed that the PNP maintained a hands-off policy on POGO since they were told before not to meddle on POGO-issues unless there would be a crime that would be committed.

With the PNP being bashed on the social media in the past weeks, Azurin started training his eyes on POGO after learning that almost of kidnapping cases, some of them went viral, involved POGO workers.

He said there is a need to strictly monitor the entry and the status of POGO workers in the country as part of the peace and order.

Aside from BI intervention in the documentation process, Azurin said they also want the PAGCOR to regularly update them of the legal POGO operators in the country.

In this way, he explained that they would be able to locate the overstaying POGO workers in the country.

Azurin also recommended that all POGO workers must secure both police and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) clearances before they are allowed to work in the Philippines.

He issued the recommendation after they noticed that the government has no proper system in the documentation of POGIO workers.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this new development? Do you support the PNP’s crackdown on the undocumented and overstaying POGO workers all over the nation? Does your local community have lots of foreigners who are currently employed by POGOs? Do you think that some of the foreign employees of POGOs are fugitives from overseas? Whenever you see Chinese nationals physically present in your local community, do you often think about POGOs immediately?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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