Press Release
December 22, 2019

Statement of Senator Joel Villanueva on the rise of kidnapping incidents involving Chinese nationals employed at Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGO) firms

The pronouncements of police officials regarding the rising incidence of kidnappings of Chinese nationals working at Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGO) firms, and mostly committed by fellow Chinese nationals, support our theory that the negative effects of the industry outweigh any benefit that the country may get from the proliferation of POGOs and POGO service providers, which employ mostly Chinese nationals.

We urge the Philippine National Police to be vigilant and prevent these kidnappings and other related crimes from happening.

As explained by the police, one of the reasons why this crime is happening is the seemingly unfamiliarity of Chinese employers to our existing laws. However, ignorance of the law excuses no one. I don't know of any country where kidnapping is legal. It is the responsibility of these Chinese nationals operating in the country to familiarize themselves and abide by our laws, particularly labor laws.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) must continue its labor inspections on offices, particularly POGO facilities and enforce our labor laws and regulations to protect all workers and ensure their rights are upheld at all times.

We intend to include the information from the police on the rising incidences of Chinese kidnappings at the labor committee hearing we will hold in January. We hope to establish the breadth and scale of the negative effects of POGO operations in the country.

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