POGOs should go

"Why do we allow these criminal elements to make the Philippines their playground?"


With news that COVID-19 is nearing pandemic proportions with more than 2,600 deaths in and outside of China, now comes another headache for Filipinos—a report that thousands of workers for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators could be working here without passports.

According to reports coming from China itself, thousands of Chinese from the mainland who have been involved in telecommunication fraud have had their passports canceled but are working in POGOs.

My gulay, with no less than 60 POGOs now operating in Metro Manila and elsewhere, duly licensed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, with some 50 more operating illegally, we have become the sanctuary of Chinese criminals and syndicates!

In an effort to authenticate and verify this report, the Duterte administration, through the Bureau of Immigration, is said to be seeking a listing of the thousands of Chinese who have managed to illegally enter the Philippines.

But why through the BI, Santa Banana? Wasn’t it this bureau which allowed them to enter the country illegally in the first place?

I have been saying that with the Duterte administration’s pivot to China, there is nothing that stops criminals and syndicates from China from making the Philippines their playground.

I was right!

These criminals are under the guise of being POGO workers. I think it’s time we stopped the proliferation of POGOs.

Are the billions of pesos in POGO contributions worth what is happening to us? If China itself has outlawed offshore gaming, why on earth is the Duterte administration even allowing it and endangering our country?

* * *

Now we know why President Duterte has been lambasting the Lopez-owned ABS-CBN radio and television network in connection with his political advertisements during the 2016 elections.

As admitted by network president and CEO Carlo Katigbak, the president’s ads were indeed not aired when they have already been paid for. There was an ad by former Senator Antonio Trillanes that was aired; that ad attacked Duterte’s person.

ABS-CBN may have apologized for its shortcomings, but it is already too late in the game. I really don’t know whether Mr. Duterte will accept the apology, which came four years too late.

In any case, a solution may be in the works. There may be a congressional resolution to extend the franchise from its original expiration on May 4 (not March 30 as earlier reported).

Since only Congress can nullify or extend franchises, according to former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno, I guess a joint resolution by the House and the Senate can resolve the impasse.

The problem as I see it is that the Supreme Court has already taken cognizance of the issue, whether or not ABS-CBN’s franchise should be extended or not. But if the High Court decides on the petition of Solicitor General Jose Calida, what becomes of the law that says only Congress can act on franchises?

Congress and the Supreme Court belong to separate branches of government.

The quo warranto asks “by what right” must ABS-CBN have its franchise renewed.

But what bothers me is why the Senate, under the committee of Senator Grace Poe, took it upon itself to preempt the House on the ABS-CBN issue. My guess is that the Senate as a whole is in favor of the franchise extension.

* * *

Pathetic and pitiful—those two words came to mind as I looked at the photos of personalities who attended the commemoration of Edsa One the other day.

There were former government people who still believe that Edsa One was really a “People Power Revolution” that caused the downfall of the late strongman President Ferdinand Marcos,

The true heroes Juan Ponce Enrile, Fidel Ramos and Gringo Honasan were not even there.

With all the rhetoric for Edsa One and what it should mean for millennials, I would like to ask: Was the gathering of just over 500,00, mostly civil society representatives including priests, nuns and students, truly a revolution? I don’t think so. It was just a gathering of those who supported the breakaway group of Enrile, Ramos and Honasan.

I don’t think the event even merits a holiday.

* * *

I don’t think there is such a thing as objective reporting anymore. Everything has become subjective. Thus, that journalists could be “objective” is a myth.

Long ago, journalism was about the 5Ws—who, what, when, where, why. But that seems to be a thing of the past now. News reports read and sound like editorials in the opinion page.

Requiring neutrality in reporting is indeed an exercise in futility. In the case of ABS-CBN, the oligarchs take sides and dictate the news, Santa Banana!

Topics: COVID-19 , Rodrigo Duterte , China , POGO , Grace Poe , Edsa One , Ferdinand Marcos
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