Hontiveros: POGO workers are not the enemy but the syndicates

Published September 23, 2022, 3:37 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Workers in the multi-billion-peso Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) operations in the Philippines are not the enemy, Senator Risa Hontiveros said on Friday, September 23.

The enemy, according to Hontiveros, is the syndicates or human traffickers who went with POGO operations from China to the Philippines.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has touched base with the Chinese embassy in its plan to deport illegal POGO workers.

The syndicates that prey on the workers are the twins of the systems and policies that allowed the POGO operations to expand, Hontiveros pointed out.

While the criminal elements are making money, the abuse of workers, either Filipinos or other races , continue, she added.

“As a signatory to multiple international conventions, responsibilidad ng Pilipinas ang pagbigay ng proteksyon para sa mga POGO workers na biktima ng trafficking (it is the responsibility of the Philippines to give protection to POGO rockers who are victims of human trafficking),” she said.

Hontiveros said Senate probes in the 18th Congress have shown that most of the POGO workers who came to the country are victims of syndicates.

These syndicates are labor traffickers, if not sex traffickers, she stressed.

“The recently-passed Expanded Anti-Trafficking Act of 2022 actually included, as part of the guarantee of protection and services to trafficked foreign nationals, practical needs such as the provision of interpreters and coordination with their embassy in the Philippines,’’ she added.