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Paano ‘pag nawala? Pangilinan warns PH on ‘slippery slope’ by coddling POGOs

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The Philippines is on a “slippery slope” by continuing to host Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGOs) despite China’s crackdown on illegal gambling, Senator Francis Pangilinan said Monday (September 16).

In an interview over ANC’s “Headstart,” Pangilinan said dependence on POGOs could harm the economy if China decides to crack the whip on illegal gambling activities overseas.

“‘Pag sinabi ng China na lahat pati na ng overseas na POGO ay illegal at hahabulin nila yung mga Chinese investors yan, eh magsisi-alisan yan. Bagsak yan, itong mga bilyun-bilyong pinag-uusapan,” he said.

Pangilinan noted that Cambodia’s economy already slumped after it banned all offshore casinos.

“Naapektuhan directly iyong local economy. So hindi madaling investment ang gambling. Komplikado yan,” he said.

Pangilinan said POGOs are already causing headaches for law enforcement agencies, citing a recent interview by Chinese-Filipino anti-crime crusader Teresita Ang See about the rampant kidnapping of Chinese nationals in the capital.

“Sabi niya na ang report sa kanila, every other day lang kidnapping ng mga Chinese nationals dito sa ating bansa. Ito ang natatanggap nilang report, na dahil pinasok dito itong mga kwenstiyonable, mga gambling, mga sindikatong behind that, lalo na iyong Chinese gambling syndicates,” he said.

Pangilinan said no less than Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. also raised national security concerns over POGO operatyions.

Lorenzana said POGOs, which employ Chinese nationals, may shift their operations to spying since several companies are located near military camps.

For his part, Esperon admitted that he considers the influx of hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationals in the country a national security threat.

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