The Philippine National Police have requested to be involved in all future inspections of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), pushing for the inclusion of its Anti Cybercrime Group (ACG), citing the detention of seven fugitives amongst the raid in Las Piñas late last month.
The ACG director, Sidney Hernia, told media: “hopefully we can institutionalize the presence of the PNP, especially the ACG here in monitoring the inspections that PAGCOR will do”.
The ACG director also noted that the group would be submitting input on policies for POGOs to PAGCOR for consideration.
“Raids come one right after another. So many people are affected. Most likely, it would be better if they involve us at the policy level),” noted the official.
While the raid conducted on the Xinchuang Network Technology compound last month was conducted by the PNP, in concert with other authorities, the move to involve police in all POGO inspections could be a watershed in how POGOs are treated within the nation.
Recent issues of illegalities by POGOs have prompted strong calls for them to be completely banned, with incidents such as human trafficking highlighted as bringing a bad reputation to the country. Lawmakers also cite that the Philippines is the only licensed offshore gambling territory, noting the various issues that operators have caused since the activity was legalized.
The seven fugitives captured during the raid do little to aid the calls of proponents of POGOs in the nation, who cite job creation and economic contributions by the companies operating their offshore businesses.
PAGCOR has vowed to have a strong hand with the offshore operators who are conducting illegal activities, shutting down entire POGO complexes and cancelling licenses as it seeks to maintain only authorized operations.
Over 1,200 people were detained during the raid on Xinchuang Network Technologies, many of whom are believed to have been victims of trafficking and subject to illegal work conditions, while conducting cryptocurrency and honeypot scams.