Officials to ban POGO in Bulacan

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CITY OF MALOLOS-Bulacan officials will not allow Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) to be established and exist anywhere in the province.

Vice Gov. Alexis Castro led a committee hearing on Wednesday of a resolution he filed for an ordinance to be passed banning all possible establishments and operations of POGO in Bulacan.

Castro said the ordinance, ‘Disallowing Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) Within the Territorial Jurisdiction of the Province of Bulacan” is parallel with an earlier Executive Order (EO) of Gov. Daniel Fernando not allowing any POGO in any of the 20 towns and four cities in the province.

As chairman of the committee of the whole, Castro supports the governor in his belief that after the dismantling of the POGOs in Tarlac and in Pampanga, it is a possibility that POGOs will shift locations and Bulacan could be one of the targeted areas.

As of today, however, there is no POGO yet existing and operating in the province based on the report of Bulacan Police Director Col. Relly Arnedo.

“Hihintayin pa ba nating magkaroon,” (Are we going to wait for this to exist), the vice governor said.

All the chiefs of police of the 20 towns and four cities together with all the mayors and their respective representatives, officials of the National Bureau of Investigation, (NBI) in Bulacan, other local officials and concerned individuals attended the committee hearing.

Based on the EO, Fernando ordered all the mayors, councilors and barangay officials to check all the warehouses, buildings, apartments in their respective localities and areas if there is a POGO that is operating.

“Baka may nakakalusot, baka may warehouse diyan, apartment, building,” (There could be one that sneaks operation, a warehouse, apartment, building), the vice governor told the media after the hearing.

“What good can we get from these POGOs. There are social issues, human trafficking, torture, money laundering, kidnapping, prostitution, different crimes in POGOs. We would not let these things happen in Bulacan as these are all crimes brought by POGO. We will not gain anything out of this POGO. Even the jobs are not given to locals but to foreigners,” Castro said.

An establishment that was reported being constructed for an alleged POGO operation in one of the towns in the third district but has yet to be issued a permit and license by Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation will be covered with this ban on POGO ordinance once it is passed already, the vice governor added.   

“Let this be a message also to everyone that we of Gov. Fernando are not protectors of POGO,” Castro also said.  

Arnedo said however that they will continue to be on the watch on POGO in Bulacan.  

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