Vico Sotto shuts down illegal Chinese restaurant in Pasig, says no to POGO

JC Gotinga

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Vico Sotto shuts down illegal Chinese restaurant in Pasig, says no to POGO

'Kakapal ng mukha!' Indignant at owners of a permit-less restaurant, the Pasig mayor offers to help the Bureau of Immigration track down and deport illegal workers and businessmen in the city.

MANILA, Philippines – Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto on Sunday, February 23, issued a stern warning against illegal businesses and workers, as he ordered the shutdown of a Chinese restaurant that lacked permits to operate from the city government.

“If you want to do business in our city, you follow our laws,” Sotto said on his official Facebook and Twitter pages. The posts included photos of city hall officers sealing the doors of a restaurant named Fu Yuan Ji.

“Kakapal ng mukha (The nerve of them)!” Sotto exclaimed when Rappler asked him for further details. He noted the brazenness of the owners in opening a business without going through the mandatory inspections to secure permits from city hall.

Since taking office in June 2019, Sotto has ordered the closure of several establishments that violated laws and regulations. Last October, he closed down the commissary of the restaurant chain Razon’s of Guagua because it did not have a sewage facility. He then suspended two officials at the city hall’s environment department as he investigated a “suspicious trend” of errant businesses still getting license to operate.


No to POGO

In the same posts on Sunday, Sotto expressed opposition to Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs), and lauded the national government’s efforts to stop the illegal entry of foreigners wanting to work in the industry.

“To people who may try to use my name in negotiating with POGOs, consider this as fair warning. One-strike policy for city hall employees,” he warned.

“On a similar note, we are happy to hear about the removal of immigration officers who were involved in allowing Chinese workers to enter the Philippines illegally,” he added

Last Thursday, February 20, President Rodrigo Duterte sacked immigration officials and employees allegedly involved in the so-called pastillas scheme of taking bribes to sneak in illegal Chinese arrivals at airports. The modus was revealed to the public in a Senate investigation of illegal activities surrounding POGOs.

“To the Bureau of Immigration, just let us know how the [local government] of Pasig can help in catching and deporting these illegal workers and businessmen,” Sotto said, adding hashtags for “Pastillas Scheme” and “No to POGO.”

Over the past several months, the immigration and revenue bureaus have shut down or raided a number of POGOs in Ortigas Center, a commercial district of which a section lies in Pasig City. –

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JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.