Instant effect! Fil-Chinese biz group notes drop in POGO-related crimes after Senate probe

The Philippine-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCCI) has noted a downtrend in the volume of crimes involving Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) as attention turned on them in recent weeks.

At a recent Senate hearing on POGOs, PCCCI president Lugene Ang said while their group won’t dictate how senators should handle issues surrounding POGOs, there may be wiggle room to ease up on the industry often blamed for disrupting peace and order in communities where Chinese employees live in.

“As far as the POGO operation is concerned, we will leave it to the wisdom of this honorable Committee as well as the government agencies to evaluate whether the economic gains of POGO will outweigh the social problems that are being generated,” Ang said.

“One thing that we want to say is that, after the September 15 hearing by the honorable Senator Bato Dela Rosa here, we have noticed that with the quick action of our law enforcement agencies particularly the various agencies of the PNP and the NBI, peace and order has greatly improved,” the businessman added, referring to the rescue of kidnapped foreign nationals in Pampanga. “And lately, for the last two weeks, we have not received any more reports on abductions and kidnappings.”

Ang thanked the police and hoped the momentum would be sustained.

Metro Manila police director PBGen. Jonnel Estomo also said police visibility has been increased in POGO locations and around casinos.

Despite the so-called “social costs,” Estomo said he’s still in favor of keeping POGO players in the country.

“Magiging plastic naman tayo kung ayaw natin ng revenue. Talaga namang mayroong revenue na nakukuha diyan,” he said. “Of course, pagka mayroong mga business, asahan natin mayroon ding krimen.”