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June 21, 2024

The Crackdown on Illegal POGOs: A Bold Move by the Philippines Against Money Laundering and Human Trafficking

Leticia "Letty" Santos
Written byLeticia "Letty" SantosWriter

Key Takeaways

  • Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, leading the PAOCC, has urged the AMLC to freeze assets linked to the recent raid on illegal POGOs in Porac, Pampanga.
  • The comprehensive raid not only targeted illegal online gambling operations but also brought to light serious allegations of human trafficking and torture.
  • In response to the raid, there's a call for the deportation of 156 foreign workers involved, alongside a push for stricter foreign work applicant screening processes.

In a bold stride towards curbing organized crime, the Philippines has taken decisive action against illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), revealing a tangled web of money laundering, human trafficking, and other nefarious activities. At the heart of this operation is Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, who, in his role as Chairman of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC), has made a significant move by requesting the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to freeze the assets of foreign workers apprehended in a recent raid on illegal POGOs in Porac, Pampanga.

The Crackdown on Illegal POGOs: A Bold Move by the Philippines Against Money Laundering and Human Trafficking

This request, aimed at seizing assets linked to criminal activities within the compound of Lucky South 99 Corp., underscores a rigorous approach to dismantling the financial infrastructure that supports illegal online gambling operations. According to AMLC Executive Director Matthew David, the application for a freeze order will target all assets associated with unlawful activities as outlined in the Republic Act No. 9160, as amended.

The raid, which took place in early June 2024, was not just a crackdown on illegal gambling but also shed light on more sinister allegations of human trafficking, torture, and scams perpetrated by the operators. The operation has prompted a broader governmental response, with Bersamin also seeking the assistance of Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla and Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Norman Tansingco in deporting all 156 foreigners arrested during the raid.

In the aftermath, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) of the Philippines has vowed to tighten its screening process for foreign work applicants, a move that reflects the seriousness with which the nation is addressing the broader implications of illegal POGOs. Meanwhile, the suspended Mayor Alice Guo has called for a fair investigation into the allegations, highlighting the complex challenges of governance and law enforcement in areas vulnerable to organized crime.

This crackdown is not just about illegal gambling; it's a statement against the exploitation and abuse that often lurks behind such operations. The Philippines' firm stance serves as a reminder of the importance of vigilance, cooperation, and decisive action in the fight against organized crime.

As we watch this story unfold, questions about the effectiveness of these measures and their impact on the broader fight against organized crime in the Philippines remain. What are your thoughts on this approach? Do you believe it will lead to significant changes in how the country deals with illegal POGOs and related criminal activities? Share your insights and join the conversation below.

About the author
Leticia "Letty" Santos
Leticia "Letty" Santos
About

Letty Santos, a vibrant spirit from the heart of Manila, seamlessly merges her passion for Filipino culture with the exhilarating world of online casinos. Bringing a unique Filipino touch to every project, she's a gem in the casino localization realm.

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