Bayan Muna Solon: POGOS are a threat to national security

BayanMuna Rep Carlos Zarate / photo from RMN news

For Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate, the government's decision to allow the continued operations of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) “puts our country’s national security and social fabric in grave peril.”

He also said that POGOs are the Chinese's version of the VFA in the country.

“As they are, POGOs are like China’s version of the US Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and EDCA here in the Philippines, as far as the national security threats and anti-social activities they breed,”  said Zarate

“Reports say that at least 3000 Pogo workers that come and go in the country like that under the VFA are undercover Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers of China,” he said.

“Yet, despite billions of intelligence funds, all we hear from the security sector is that they are still validating it. That is the height of sloppy work, even incompetence,” the Makabayan lawmaker stressed

“These POGOs have also become a hub of anti-social activities like gambling, pr0stitution,money laundering and illegal drugs just like the US bases then,” he added.

Earlier, Presidential Spokesperson revealed that President Rodrigo Duterte  is seemed convinced by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (Pagcor) “good” report that POGOs have economic benefits.

"Ganoon pa rin. He will not suspend it nor will stop it. Ang sabi niya sa akin kahapon, maganda ‘yung report ni Pagcor. Maganda daw ‘yung report sa kanya. So okay ),” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

Panelo also said that the government needs funds collected from POGOs to address the outbreak of 2019 coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country. It could also be used to raise the monthly salaries of nurses and teachers.

“Kailangan talaga natin ‘yung pondo na galing doon. Marami tayong projects na kailangan natin ng pondo,” the Presidential spokesman said

“‘Yung mga problema diyan sa operation, iyan eh magagawan ng paraan iyan. All you have to do is to implement, establish rules and regulations,” he said.

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