Most POGO-linked crimes in human trafficking–Win


SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian, noting that most crimes linked to Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) involve human trafficking cases, said at the weekend this indicates that organized criminal groups tied to the industry are running the racket.

Citing findings by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the senator said this is “concerning and alarming and can have serious implications on the country’s national security.”

He said he received a letter from the NBI “containing the summary of POGO-related cases handled by the Investigation Service,” and its “shows that POGO-related crimes have totaled 113 from November 2019 to March 2023.”

The March 23, 2023 letter was signed by Atty. Medardo De Lemos. The NBI report informed Senate probers that based on data provided by the Bureau, a total of 65 or 58 percent of the total number of cases involved human trafficking.

Sen. Gatchalian affirmed that “human trafficking is a heinous crime that exploits the most vulnerable in our communities and the data from the NBI shows that some POGO operators are into human trafficking, too.”

The senator vowed that “we cannot allow such horrific crimes to happen in our country.”

As chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, Gatchalian led the inquiry into the socioeconomic benefits of maintaining POGO operations in the country following numerous reports of crime attributed to the industry.

After a series of public hearings, Gatchalian pressed for the immediate lockout of POGOs in the country in a bid to help maintain peace and order and sustain economic growth.

This was conveyed in his Committee Chairman’s Report on their inquiry which was provided to the Office of the President for appropriate Executive action.

Aside from the 65 cases of human trafficking, the NBI report also shows there were 33 cases of international operations that were investigated, 7 cases of cybercrimes, 4 anti-organized and transnational crimes, 3 cases of fraud, and one case of anti-violence against women and children—all related to POGO.