Philippine Senator Files Proposal to Ban POGOs over Human Trafficking Concerns

Home » Philippine Senator Files Proposal to Ban POGOs over Human Trafficking Concerns

Philippine Senator Risa Hontiveros has called on the country’s legislature to immediately ban Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations, known as POGOs, over human trafficking concerns allegedly raised after the recent inspection of some of these facilities in the Philippines.

Human Trafficking Allegations:

According to Hontiveros, who reportedly serves in the Philippine Senate as the Deputy Minority Leader,  POGOs seem extensively used as a disguise for illegal operations. As the Philippine News Agency reports, Risa Hontiveros suspects that POGOs are involved in human trafficking and other fraudulent activities related to identity misrepresentation. The Senator’s suspicion is reportedly based on the recent inspection of a POGO facility in Bamban, Tarlac performed by Senator Hontiveros, together with, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian. The inspection was performed after the company had been raided over human trafficking and illegal detention allegations.

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Senator Proposes to Ban POGOs:

According to the Philippine News Agency, Hontiveros stated that POGOs’ legal operations are used by illegal syndicates to cover their unlawful activities. Therefore she continued that these offshore gaming operations have never made any significant contributions to the Philippine economy and that shall be banned to reportedly terminate illegal activities that are using POGO as a legal shield.

As reported, the Senator’s proposal to ban POGOs comes after the Philippine Anti-Organized Crime Commission informed Hontiveros and Gatchalian that six Chinese fugitives were discovered in the premises of the raided POGO company. As reported, these persons were involved in so-called ”love scams” and cryptocurrency investment scams.

Love Scams and Fake Crypto Schemes:

Also, the state forces discovered multiple mobile phones and SIM cards on the premises. According to the Philippine News Agency, these devices were likely to have been use for fraudulent transactions. As the raid of a Bamban office discovered material and devices similar to the content of other suspected and raided facilities, Senator Hontiveros reportedly raised concerns that some POGOs seem to be involved in illegal love scams and crypto schemes.

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Senate Resolution No.1001 Filed:

Therefore Senator Risa Hontiveros filed Senate Resolution No. 1001 on 23 April 2024 to request an investigation of the foreign applications for the Philippine citizenship to reveal counterfeited documents and terminate illegal immigration skirted by legal POGO operators. As reported, the resolution refers to the findings of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality and the cases of the Visa Upon Arrival facility abuses by Chinese POGO workers seeking entry into the Philippines.

Split Senate Opinion:

As reported by the Philippine News Agency, Senator Hontiveros’ proposal to ban these gaming operations to combat illegal immigration issues has divided the Senate. At the same time, the gaming authority PAGCOR reportedly supports the efforts to clean up the industry and continue to benefit from the economic contribution of legal offshore gaming operators.

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