By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday questioned the slow response of the administration on the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) amid concerns the industry is linked to criminality and corruption.
Robredo, a lawyer, noted the “glaring evil and corruption” involving the POGO industry, which is a primary reason should the government act swiftly on the matter.
“These (POGOs) have negatively affected us. I hope they will take action the soonest time possible,” she said in Filipino during her weekly radio show, “BISErbisyong Leni.”
The vice president stressed that offshore gaming operations should be stopped, noting their negative effects outweigh the industry’s supposed economic benefits to Filipinos.
“The income we get is not enough for what we are losing,” Robredo said.
A series of Senate inquiry revealed several Chinese nationals seeking work in the Philippines had bribed Bureau of Immigration (BI) officers and personnel to enter the country.
These have also uncovered the POGO industry allegedly failed to pay the right taxes and are being used by crime groups for money laundering. Sex trafficking and other illegal activities also came out during the hearings.
Robredo pointed out that concerns were raised before against POGOs, but these were not acted upon.
‘We have been calling for their action a long time ago,” the opposition leader said. “Many crimes have been committed. There have been a lot of victims, but they have not acted on it.”
Robredo also asked why the Chinese nationals involved in criminal acts have not been immediately deported.
“This won’t happen if there is no corruption in the Bureau of Immigration. This won’t happen if there is no government official is involved. This won’t prevail if we won’t allow it,” she said.