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PCCI-NL calls for total ban of POGOs in PH

As the Area Vice President for PCCI – North Luzon, I am compelled to express the collective dismay and alarm of the North Luzon Local Chamber of Commerce and Industry regarding the unlawful acts associated with the influence of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) in our country. In particular, we are perturbed by the recent exposure of criminal activities in the POGOs in Bamban, Tarlac and the subsequent ongoing investigation and preventive suspension of Mayor Alice Guo whose jurisdiction is within our area.

We express grave concern in regard to the rising proliferation of various scams and criminal activities perpetrated by Chinese POGO operators. These activities include human trafficking, illegal detention, and extortion. The situation in Bamban is a stark reminder of the broader issues that POGOs bring to our communities. The involvement of local officials, law enforcements and government regulatory bodies in these activities further complicates the matter and underscores the need for decisive action.

Given the rampant criminal activities linked to POGO operations, the PCCI-NL proposes a total ban on POGOs in the Philippines. The economic benefits purportedly brought by these operations are far outweighed by the social costs and threats to public safety and national security. The association of POGOs with criminal syndicates not only tarnishes the reputation of our country but also puts the safety and security of our citizens at risk.

However, it is crucial to distinguish between the criminal elements among Chinese POGO operators and the law-abiding Filipino-Chinese businessmen who have significantly contributed to nation-building.

We strongly condemn the actions of Chinese nationals involved in criminal activities within our borders. At the same time, we acknowledge and appreciate the positive contributions of the Filipino-Chinese business community, whose dedication and hard work have been instrumental in the economic development of our nation.

We urge the national government to take immediate and decisive action to:
1. Enforce a Total Ban on POGOs;
2. Implement a complete and permanent ban on POGO operations in the Philippines to eliminate the source of these criminal activities;
3. Strengthen Law Enforcement;
4. Enhance the capabilities of our law enforcement agencies to crack down on criminal syndicates operating under the guise of POGOs;
5. Protect the Integrity of Local Governance
6. Investigate and hold accountable any local and other officials involved in criminal activities related to POGOs, ensuring that governance remains transparent and accountable.

The criminal activities associated with POGO operations pose a significant threat to the PCCI-North Luzon’s commitment to promoting a safe and prosperous environment for Philippine businesses and citizens. We believe that a total ban on POGOs and stronger law enforcement and governance measures are essential to safeguarding our communities and upholding the rule of law.

Area VP, PCCI North Luzon