76 illegal POGO workers arrested in Makati

Rambo Talabong
Of the arrested Philippine offshore gaming operations workers, 63 are Chinese while 13 are Filipino

RAID. Cops do an inventory of items seized from the Makati raid on Tuesday, May 5. NCRPO photo

MANILA, Philippines – Cops from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) arrested 76 Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGO) workers in Makati City at around 11:30 am on Tuesday, May 5.

Most of the arrested, some 63 of them, were Chinese, while 13 were identified as Filipino workers, according to the NCRPO’s report sent to reporters on Wednesday, May 6.

They were arrested in a building at Barangay Olympia in Makati City after cops received a tip that they were operating without a license and also during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), which suspended POGO operations and enforced steep rules to promote physical distancing during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Philippines has since allowed POGOs to operate at a limited capacity on May 1, despite most of non-essential industries closing due to the pandemic.

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) chief Andrea Domingo argued that POGOs are technically business process outsourcing (BPO) companies. BPOs have been allowed to operate during the Luzon-wide lockdown with the condition that they pay their taxes.

Police recovered the following items during the raid of their headquarters:

  • 75 laptops with different brands
  • 13 keyboards and mouse
  • 23 identification cards
  • 6 boxes of assorted computer cables and wires
  • 42 adoptors
  • 1 check booklet
  • 3 boxes containing cellphone load cards
  • 2 monitor screens
  • 1 speaker
  • P115,200 ($2,275.87*) in cash
  • 126 Chinese Yuan ($17.75**) in cash
  • 16$ in cash

The owner of the business, a certain “Xiao Bao”, remains at large.

They are set to face complaints for allegedly violating Presidential Decree No. 1602 against illegal gambling, Republic Act No. 9287, Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act, and Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code, which refers to disobedience to a person of authority. – Rappler.com

*1$=P50.58

**1$=7.10 Chinese Yuan

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.