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Senators back possible ban on illegal POGOs  

Macon Ramos-Araneta

Senate leaders have supported the stand of Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro to stop the illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) operations in the country.

“I agree with Sec. Teodoro who seems to be referring to illegal POGO operations because he said that ‘do not operate as intended,’” Senate President Francis Escudero said.

He added all illegal POGOs should be closed whether they are close to our military bases and their perpetrators arrested.

“If, on the other hand, he is also referring to legal POGOs, then I suggest that he discuss this matter of ‘national concern’ with PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) as it may involve national security,” Escudero said.

Meanwhile, Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada said that aside from security concerns raised on POGO operations near our military bases, there are reports on some 250 others operating without licenses. He said this should prompt our concerned authorities to conduct a crackdown on these illegal entities.

The senator also said PAGCOR should immediately order the closure of illegal or unlicensed POGOs if they have enough information about their illegal operations.

Additionally, with PAGCOR’s coordination with the Bureau of Immigration, he said the visa of workers of unlicensed POGOs should be canceled and deportation proceedings started immediately.

“We can get no benefits from their operation as they have been involved in several crimes aside from their failure to pay correct taxes,” Estrada said.

Sen. Loren Legarda also said law enforcement authorities must take drastic action to prevent further criminal elements to use POGOs as fronts and shut them down now.

“Deport the mainland Chinese who are illegally operating in the POGOs especially those involved in criminal activities,” Legarda said.

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