PNP urged to monitor, address rising kidnapping cases involving POGO workers

Robie de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines – A lawmaker urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to closely monitor the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) following the rise of kidnappings and other crimes involving POGO workers in the country.

In a statement, Senator Joel Villanueva said the reported spate of kidnappings of POGO employees allegedly committed by fellow Chinese nationals “support our theory that the negative effects of the industry outweigh any benefit that the country may get from the proliferation of POGOs and POGO service providers.”

“We urge the Philippine National Police to be vigilant and prevent these kidnappings and other related crimes from happening,” he said.

Villanueva also noted the explanation of Police officials that one of the reasons why these abductions are happening is the “seemingly unfamiliarity” of Chinese employers to the country’s laws.

“However, ignorance of the law excuses no one. I don’t know of any country where kidnapping is legal. It is the responsibility of these Chinese nationals operating in the country to familiarize themselves and abide by our laws, particularly labor laws,” he said.

“The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) must continue its labor inspections on offices, particularly POGO facilities and enforce our labor laws and regulations to protect all workers and ensure their rights are upheld at all times,” he added.

Villanueva, who chairs the Senate committee on labor and employment, also revealed that his panel is planning to hold a legislative hearing on the issue in January 2020.

He said they intend to include the information provided by the police on the rising incidences of kidnappings involving Chinese nationals during the hearing.

“We hope to establish the breadth and scale of the negative effects of POGO operations in the country,” he said.

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