Hontiveros urges investigation of Fontana Leisure Parks

Published August 13, 2020, 1:17 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) to conduct a full investigation of the Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino located in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros (Senate of the Philippines / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Hontiveros made the call after police arrested seven Chinese men, six Chinese women and two Vietnamese women said to be involved in the prostitution and human trafficking activities inside the resort.

“Habang nahihirapan tayong mga Pilipino sa COVID-19 pandemic, may mga Chinese prostitution rings naman na patuloy pa rin ang operasyon (While Filipinos are having a hard time battling the COVID-19 pandemic, there are Chinese prostitution rings that continue their operation),” Hontiveros lamented.

“Hindi natin dapat hinahayaan na nagiging pugad tayo ng prostitusyon at iba pang krimen (we shouldn’t allow our country to be a nest for prostitution and other criminal activities),” the Senate committee on women and children chief, said.

The senator added the owner and administrators of the said leisure park should be investigated as well for possible liability noting this is not the first time an illegal activity was discovered in the resort.

Hontiveros recalled that an illegal underground hospital for tenants and workers of a Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) company was discovered at Fontana only last May.

Prior to this, she said 15 casino rooms in Fontana were ordered shut down following the Bureau of Immigration’s (BI) arrest of around 1,300 illegal Chinese working inside the leisure park in December 2016.

“Fontana’s license to operate can be suspended and eventually revoked if there’s negligence on their part in making sure that crimes do not thrive within their premises,” she said.

“Responsibilidad nilang siguraduhin na sumusunod sa batas ang mga tenants nila (they have the responsibility of ensuring their tenants are following the law),” Hontiveros said.

Earlier this year, the lawmaker exposed the alleged “pastillas” scheme within the BI, a system which involves Chinese nationals, mostly POGO workers, who are allowed seamless entry into the country for a “service fee.”

Senators believe the alleged scheme—which the Senate investigated thereafter—contributed to the rise of prostitution and human trafficking in the Philippines.