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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. If you want to support my website, please consider making a donation. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco/.

Over 100 foreign and local workers rescued from POGOs in Rizal and Pampanga

Thanks to the collective efforts of local law enforcers, more than one hundred foreign and local workers from two Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) establishments in the provinces of Pampanga and Rizal, according to GMA Network’s news reports. Human trafficking and physical abuses are notable elements in the reports.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the GMA news report about the Rizal rescue. Some parts in boldface…

Authorities rescued over 100 allegedly abused foreign and Filipino Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) workers in Cainta, Rizal, John Consulta reported on 24 Oras Weekend.

The Bureau of Immigration and National Bureau of Investigation conducted an operation on Saturday to rescue workers who were allegedly tortured and held against their will by fellow foreigners.

The victims claimed they were not being paid, while one of the workers alleged that he was kidnapped and forced to work for the POGO. Others were promised free board, lodging, and a high salary for working 22 hours a day.

But even if they were forced to work long hours without being paid, the workers were still allegedly physically punished if they were caught sleeping on the job. Wounds were seen on a worker’s back.

Suspect Lee Mengqiang, a Chinese national, denied harming the POGO workers.

Meanwhile, the NBI also discovered that the POGO’s permit had expired but continued to operate.

Now here is the related news video about the above news story. Watch the video and pay close attention…

About the POGO and rescue of workers in Pampanga, posted below is an excerpt from the GMA Network report. Some parts in boldface…

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Saturday said it shut down a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) establishment in Pampanga and rescued at least 43 foreign nationals from allegedly human trafficking.

Following a series of raids, DILG secretary Benhur Abalos and officials of the Philippine National Police Anti-Kidnapping Group permanently closed the Lucky 99 Outsourcing Inc. offices, located at Fil-Am Friendship Hi-Way in Angeles City, Pampanga.

Abalos said the raids resulted in the rescue of the foreign nationals who were brought to the establishment.

The DILG secretary said the police would continue to apprehend individuals involved in similar illegal activities as part of the intensified crackdown on POGOs involved in human trafficking.

“With the help of PAGCOR and the SEC, we will be able to identify who are the individuals behind this illegality,” he said in a statement.

Abalos said the DILG also sought assistance from the Bureau of Immigration to check the visas of the rescued foreign nationals.

“We will make sure that all victims will be accorded due process as the Immigration [Bureau] checks their documents and visas properly to avoid being victimized again,” he said.

The DILG Secretary also encouraged the public to report such illegal activities in their respective areas.

“We are nearing the end of the pandemic and the only way to put a stop to this is by working together,” he added.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What do you think about these new developments? Are you now concerned that POGOs operating in your city could be secretly committing crimes such as kidnapping, physical abuse and human trafficking? Do you think that the POGOs in your city are somehow adding to new incidents of kidnapping, prostitution, gun smuggling, torture and other criminal activities? Do you believe that the government should permanently shut down POGOs that are involved in criminal activities?

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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others as well as making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) on the lookout for local vloggers who made millions of pesos

Are you a vlogger based here in the Philippines who made a lot of money recently? Be aware that the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is on the lookout for vloggers they might find taxable. The other day, it was reported by the Manila Bulletin that the BIR is paying close attention to a certain unidentified couple who allegedly earned between P50 million to P100 million (US$1 million to US$2 million based on the latest foreign exchange rates) that past few years and the deletion of their social media channel was seen to be a move to avoid taxation. It should be noted that the BIR launched a campaign focused on social media influencers or SMIs.

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

A couple, who reportedly raked in multi-million pesos from video blogging (vlogging), abruptly deleted their social media channel in what the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) officials believe to be an attempt to avoid paying taxes.

Based on the initial investigation of the BIR, the couple earned P50 to P100 million in the past two years which enabled them to buy luxury vehicles and built a mansion somewhere in Metro Manila.

BIR sources said the couple deleted their channel days after BIR Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay announced a crackdown against social media influencers (SMIs) who have been receiving earning huge sum of money from social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook by compelling them to pay taxes.

The couple, BIR officials said, had more than 11 million subscribers. The names of the pair were withheld pending the outcome of the investigation.

But the BIR said it will still run after the couple, saying deleting the social media channel will not excuse them from paying taxes.

Vloggers are classified as self-employed subject to 12 percent value-added tax if annual income is P3 million and more, eight percentage tax if less than the amount and tax exempt if not more than P250,000.

Dulay advised vloggers to be truthful in their income tax declaration to avoid facing tax evasion charges.

The article ended stating that social media influencers cannot hide their respective income because the “tax authorities of countries where the social media platforms are based are obligated to furnish the BIR with their salaries under a tax treaty agreement with the Philippines.”

For the newcomers reading this, the penalties for tax evasion has been updated this year in accordance to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act. A person found guilty of tax evasion, the financial penalty is now P500,000 to P10 million. Imprisonment will be 6 to 10 years.

In closing this piece, let me ask you readers: Do you believe that the BIR’s search for qualified vloggers or SMIs to tax is good for the Philippines? Do you believe that your favorite vloggers or SMIs have a legal obligation to pay taxes? Do you believe that the affected vloggers/SMIs will react by promoting/favoring the politicians or potential election candidates who oppose the current administration?

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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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

COVID-19 Crisis: 20% discount for Philippine athletes and coaches confirmed

COVID-19 Crisis: 20% discount for Philippine athletes and coaches confirmed

As I write this, the Philippines is slowly taking steps to move its economy forward gradually now that community quarantine rules have eased more. This means more businesses are allowed to operate and this means getting more of their workforce back to work to earn much-needed income. It’s sometimes mind boggling how the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) from China turned into a pandemic which halted most societies and economies around the world.

For Philippine team athletes and coaches, times are hard as well. Very recently, news have been published that their allowances for this month will be cut by half! According to the Manila Standard report, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) board decided to push through with the reduction following a May 29 board meeting with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR). The remittance declared was reportedly P9 million for June 2020 which is a major drop compared to the P150.75 million PAGCOR remitted to PSC last March.

The National Sports Development Fund (NSDF) was reported to have been severely affected as a result of health-related measures and lockdown implemented nationwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It sure is hard for athletes and coaches to train and develop themselves. Truly this is terrible news. Sports events, both local and overseas, have gotten cancelled.

All is not lost, however, as the PSC announced that its athletes and coaches will enjoy the benefits of a 20% discount for their needs.

Below is an excerpt from the PNA.gov article with text italicized and colored blue for clarity.

On Friday night, the PSC said the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued Revenue Regulation 13-2020, which paves the way for the discount clause to be fully implemented for all athletes.

“We have been looking forward to this and we are thankful that our athletes and coaches will finally enjoy the privilege they deserve,” said PSC chairman Butch Ramirez, whose organization has been working together with the BIR for the discount benefit to be fully enjoyed by local sportsmen.

The discount clause is part of Republic Act 10699, formally known as the “National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act”.

The discounts shall be applied to food, medicine, recreation centers, hotels, lodging establishments, and sports equipment purchases.

The PSC has already issued identification cards to national athletes, with booklets similar to those used by senior citizens for their own discounts, to follow.

With the reduced allowances and confirmed discount, the past week saw these really drastic announcements affecting the many athletes and coaches supported by the national government. Some things are won and some things are lost.

The COVID-19 crisis affected the private sector so much, it is expected that tax revenues on the part of the national government will be reduced on the short term at least. Think about all the many small businesses around the country that have closed down resulting job losses. Think about the national government’s efforts to support qualified people with cash assistance and other forms of relief.

Now think about the national athletes and coaches. They don’t just need cash to train efficiently for future sports events. They need private sponsorship, new sports equipment, solutions to their current problems, etc.

For more on Philippine sports and COVID-19 Crisis coverage, come back here soon.

Meanwhile, please check out my special features of 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) gold medalists John Chicano and Kim Mangrobang.


Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com