THE Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is warning the public against the illegal recruitment being perpetrated by certain Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogo) in the country.
This was after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) verified that certain Chinese companies are operating in the country as Pogo without license, accreditation, nor pending application with its Online Gaming and Licenses Department (OGLD).
In a report from the Philippine National Police-Anti-Kidnapping Group (PNP-AKG), a Taiwanese identified as Wu Keng-Hao came to the country on February 26, 2021, to work for an online gaming company.
Wu told the police that he was lured to apply to work for Pogo through a social media account of Chinese firm Yinghuang Yule, which promised a 13,000 Renminbi (P97,000) monthly salary.
Upon arrival in the country, he was brought to a hotel in Pasay for the mandatory quarantine. He was later kept in a budget hotel in Paranaque City and was turned into a "Pogo work slave" after he was sold twice to two different Chinese groups, identified as Yinghuang Yule and 3 + 7 Company, who are not authorized to operate as Pogo in the Philippines.
The report also said the Taiwanese victim was only rescued by police on March 2, 2021, after he called his relatives in Taiwan, who in turn sought the assistance of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (Teco). It was Teco officials who informed the PNP-AKG of the ordeal experienced by the victim.
According to PNP-AKG, the “slave trade” has already been the modus of Pogo firms during the past years. Chinese or Taiwanese nationals would be lured through social media accounts and will be recruited as Pogo workers.
These companies would often compensate them lower than what was agreed upon and if they refuse, they will be abducted and call their families for ransom.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III warned the public of unscrupulous groups, specifically those who promise to give attractive salary packages but have caused them serious financial and emotional problems.
To avoid being defrauded, Bello advised the public to be very careful in dealing with similar groups who are using social media in their recruitment activities.
Bello emphasized that “it would be prudent to verify first the registration of such companies with relevant government agencies prior to engaging with them.”