Press Release
October 10, 2023

PNP's support for termination of POGO operations a compelling factor—Gatchalian

Senator Win Gatchalian said the Philippine National Police's (PNP) support for the expulsion of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) from the country underscores the urgency for the government to address the issue.

"This is one compelling factor that is hard to ignore. This only goes to show that the particular course of action of terminating POGO operations is imperative," Gatchalian said.

At a recent Senate hearing on the proposed budget of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and its attached agencies, PNP Chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda expressed his support for the termination of POGO operations in the country.

"Based on crimes being reported, the crime statistics are alarming to my appreciation. It should be properly regulated and monitored. Kung hindi naman talaga properly regulated and monitored, mas magandang wala na," Acorda said, as he noted that while the number of crimes attributed to POGOs has been decreasing, the number of victims has increased exponentially.

According to PNP data, there were a total of 4,039 victims in 4 POGO-related crimes in the first six months of the year. In comparison, there were only 128 victims in 39 reported crimes in 2022. "There are fewer crimes but the intensity of the crime is much greater now. We are talking about thousands of human trafficking victims being rescued and who were forced into scamming activities. The level, intensity, and magnitude of these crimes are significant just this year alone," Gatchalian pointed out.

Acorda mentioned that the PNP has been intensifying its capacity-building efforts for police authorities to combat the rising cybercrime activities associated with POGOs. "Admittedly, there is an alarming increase in incidents, especially in cybercrimes. That's why we are intensifying training, and capacitating local police through the anti-cybercrime group," the PNP Chief said.

The chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, Gatchalian has been pressing for the expulsion of POGO operators in the country, citing rising criminal activities attributed to the industry including human trafficking, forcible abduction, homicide, illegal detention, kidnapping-for-ransom, theft, robbery-extortion, serious physical injuries, swindling, grave coercion, investment scam, cryptocurrency scam, and love scam.

"Nakakabahala. It's really bringing international shame to our country as the victims come from different countries. The burden and pressure on the police to arrest and stop these crimes is getting heavy and the attention being diverted to this industry is depriving attention to other sectors. POGO has no place in our country, just looking at the statistics alone. If we want a peaceful country, then POGOs should not remain in our country any longer," Gatchalian concluded.


PNP suportado ang pagpapaalis sa mga POGO sa bansa — Gatchalian

Sinabi ni Senador Win Gatchalian na suportado ng Philippine National Police (PNP) ang pagpapatalsik sa mga Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) sa bansa kaya kinakailangan nang tugunan ito ng pamahalaan.

"Nagpapakita lamang ito ng agarang aksyon upang mapatalsik na ang mga kumpanya ng POGO," sabi ni Gatchalian.

Sa naging pagdinig ng Senado sa panukalang pondo ng Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) at mga attached agencies nito, ipinahayag ni PNP Chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda ang kanyang suporta sa pagwawakas ng POGO operations sa bansa.

"Base sa mga krimen na iniulat, ang mga istatistika ng krimen ay nakakaalarma. Dapat itong mamonitor nang maigi. Kung hindi naman masusubaybayan at mare-regulate nang maayos, mas magandang wala na," ayon kay Acorda. Habang ang bilang ng mga krimen na iniuugnay sa mga POGO ay bumababa, ang bilang naman aniya ng mga biktima ay lalong dumami.

Ayon sa datos ng PNP, may kabuuang 4,039 na biktima sa 4 na POGO-related crimes sa unang anim na buwan ng taon. Kung ihahambing ito sa datos noong 2022, aniya, mayroon lamang 128 na biktima sa 39 na naiulat na krimen. "Mas kakaunti nga ang mga krimen pero mas matindi ang mga ito ngayon. Ang pinag-uusapan natin dito ay tungkol sa libu-libong biktima ng human trafficking na pinilit sa iba't ibang scamming activities na kalaunan ay nailigtas din. Ang lebel, tindi o intensity, at lawak ng mga krimen ay kapansin-pansin sa taong ito lamang," sabi ni Gatchalian.

Ayon kay Acorda, pinaigting ng PNP ang kanilang capacity-building efforts upang labanan ang tumataas na aktibidad ng cybercrime na nauugnay sa mga POGO. "Sa totoo lang, nakakaalarma ang pagdami ng mga insidente, lalo na sa cybercrimes. Kaya naman pinaiigting natin ang pagsasanay, at pinapalakas natin ang kapasidad ng mga lokal na pulis sa pamamagitan ng anti-cybercrime group," ayon pa sa PNP Chief.

Bilang chairperson ng Senate Committee on Ways and Means, iginigiit ni Gatchalian ang pagpapatalsik sa mga POGO operators sa bansa kasunod ng tumataas na bilang ng mga krimen na nauugnay sa industriya kabilang ang human trafficking, forcible abduction, homicide, illegal detention, kidnapping-for-ransom, pagnanakaw, robbery-extortion, serious physical injuries, swindling, grave coercion, investment scam, cryptocurrency scam, at love scam.

"Nakakabahala. Nagdudulot talaga ito ng malaking kahihiyan ng bansa sa international community dahil ang mga biktima ay galing sa iba't ibang bansa. Walang lugar ang mga POGO sa ating bansa base kung ang pagbabasehan natin ay mga datos. Kung gusto natin ng mapayapang bansa, hindi na dapat manatili pa ang mga POGO dito sa Pilipinas," pagtatapos ni Gatchalian.

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