MANILA. Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr.
MANILA. Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr.Photo by Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo

DILG chief warns LGU execs against involvement in Pogo

INTERIOR and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. warned on Monday, June 24, 2024, local government chief executives against dipping their hands in illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogo).

In a press conference in Camp Crame, Abalos said he issued a Memorandum Circular ordering the Philippine National Police (PNP) and local government units (LGUs) to work together in a bid to eradicate the country from illegal Pogos.

Abalos said they are also not discounting the possibility that money coming from illegal Pogo operations may be used by some erring politicians to fuel their candidacy in the upcoming 2025 midterm elections.

He said based on the list of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor), there were only 43 legal Pogos operating in the country and they were located only in Kawit in Cavite and in Metro Manila.

“So all others na makita mo na meron kang mga activity ipa-verify mo na and they got the BPLO (Business Permit and Licensing Office), automatic yan, puwede mo gamitin yan. Puwede mo gamitin sanitation mo, puwede mo gamitin ‘yung bumbero para i-check ito. It’s no reason. Hindi na kailangan ng isang illegal activity. In fact tama, ang tawag rito ay farm scam,” said Abalos.

(So all others that you see, have them verified and if they got the BPLO (Business Permit and Licensing Office), that's automatic, you can use that. You can use your sanitation permit; you can use the fireman to check it. It's no reason. No need for an illegal activity. In fact that's right, it's called a farm scam.)

“So kung makakita ngayon dito sa probinsya na ganito (Pogo) except for Cavite and except for Metro, sigurado ako illegal na yan,” he added.

(So if you see something like this in the province (Pogo) except for Cavite and except for Metro, I'm sure it's illegal.)

Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo was earlier suspended by the Office of the Ombudsman over charges of grave misconduct, serious dishonesty, gross neglect of duty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service filed by the DILG over her alleged link to the Zun Yuan Technology Incorporated (ZYTI), a Pogo firm that was raided by the police in March.

ZYTI was situated within the vicinity of the Bamban Municipal Hall.

Guo earlier admitted owning half of the property leased by ZYTI for its operations but clarified that she divested before she won the mayoralty race.

She also allegedly helped the firm in securing documentary requirements during the former administration.

Abalos said the Provincial Government of Pampanga has also ordered investigation on the possible accountability of local government officials of Porac following the raid in Lucky South 99, an illegal Pogo firm situated in a 10-hectare property with 46 villas and other structures, as well as a golf course.

At least four individuals were identified as kidnap victims. Two of them were still handcuffed and full of bruises and torture marks when found by the police.

Porac Mayor Jaime Capil already denied allegations that he is a Pogo protector, noting that he did not issue a business permit to Lucky South 99. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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