Press Release
December 10, 2019

Statement of Senator Joel Villanueva on the kidnapping incident of a POGO worker in Makati City

The kidnapping of a Chinese woman in Makati City on Tuesday night is sadly another statistic on the social costs brought about by our government's lax policy on the entry of foreign workers in the country. The incident comes on the heels of the city government's ban on service providers of Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGO) firms, which employ mainly foreign nationals. The indefinite moratorium gives us time to scrutinize and weigh the benefits from this sector vis-a-vis its social costs, such as crimes and higher property prices.

Any way you look at it, crimes strike fear and alarm in the hearts of the people, thereby raising security concerns on the safety of the workers in the area. We appeal to our citizens to take the necessary precaution.

Nevertheless, we cannot help but wonder whether Metro Manila is starting to turn into a foreign criminals' playground with the rising number of crimes committed by foreign nationals as reported in the news. We hope it's not the case, but if these incidents continue to persist, it shows that our border officers are unwittingly welcoming criminals into our shores.

While we have confidence in their organization, we call on the Philippine National Police to give this issue a closer scrutiny, especially since security concerns inevitably have indirect consequences, such as negative impacts on the attractiveness of the country as a potential area for expansion of businesses.

During our hearing on the influx of illegal foreign workers in the previous Congress, resource persons from the police mentioned the rise of crimes involving foreigners since the boom of POGO firms in the country. If these kinds of incidents continue to rise, then the police may need to recalibrate its efforts to secure our people.

We also reiterate our plea to action to various government agencies involved in this matter, especially to the joint DOLE-BI-BIR-DOJ task force, to immediately coordinate with each other to investigate and run after illegal foreign workers in the country.

We will definitely raise these issues as we commence our Committee hearings on the inner workings of POGOs, with a view to painting a clearer picture on the social ills that have risen since the sector's steady rise in 2016.

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