FEBRUARY 23, 2020—The head of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee has expressed desire to join an ongoing investigation into alleged irregularities involving Chinese-controlled offshore gaming operations in the country.
Senator Richard Gordon became interested in looking into POGO’s illegal activities after government officials had been exposed in a bribery scheme involving entry of Chinese gaming workers into the country.
“Nag-usap na kami ni (Sen.) Risa (Hontiveros). Sabi ko, ‘When you’re ready, papasok ang Blue Ribbon with your permission,’ dahil siya ang siyempre nag-iimbestiga diyan, siya ang nag-expose,” Gordon said.
“I can motu proprio and say I’ve had enough, may nakikita akong malfeasance dito sa BI, sa Internal Revenue, sa PAGCOR.” Gordon said. “I can always come in with all due respect to my fellow senators.”
After several public hearings, Senator Risa Hontiveros’s committee has exposed a bribery scheme called “Pastillas” involving local immgration officials allowing smooth entry of Chinese nationals in exchange of cash.”
Gordon’s committee has started researching on crimes and other issues that may be linked to alleged irregularities with the operations of POGOs such as tax evasion and the rise of number of Chinese nationals in the Philippines.
“Ang damage sa ating lipunan niyan, napakalaki. Hindi lang ‘yung kulang ‘yung binabayad niyan. Nadi-distort ‘yung values natin at you suddenly have, ang dami-daming mga Chinese na pumapasok dito, sabi tourists; ngayon, maraming POGO,” the senator said.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian also urged authorities to hunt down Chinese syndicates working for the country’s POGO industry amid reports of kidnapping incidents against fellow nationals.
“The PNP, NBI and the BI need to step up their efforts in hunting down these syndicates who are not only into kidnapping activities but at the same time have been operating prostitution dens and many forms of human trafficking,” Sen. Gatchalian said. “They should go to jail.”
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, in a Facebook post, reiterated to businessmen in the city to follow local ordinances; offering a hand to go after illegal operators.
“To the Bureau of Immigration, just let us know how the LGU of Pasig can help in catching and deporting these illegal workers and businessmen,” Mayor Sotto said. Most POGO operations are concentrated in the Makati City Central Business District, Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City, and the Bay Area in Pasay and Parañaque Cities.
If you want to do business in our City, YOU FOLLOW OUR LAWS.On a similar note, we are happy to hear about the removal…
Data from the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group show that the number of abduction cases involving Chinese nationals rose by 71% to 58 cases in 2019 from 34 cases in 2018.
Of these cases, 31 are incidents of POGO-related abductions by their loan-sharks after accumulating huge debts. (John Reczon Calay/MM)
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