DOJ orders closure of 175 POGOs

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 26) — The Department of Justice (DOJ) ordered the closure of 175 Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) whose licenses were revoked by the gaming regulator, its spokesperson said on Monday.

In a public briefing, DOJ spokesperson Mico Clavano said the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) revoked the POGO licenses as of Sept. 14.

It will be a joint effort to shut down the online gaming operators, he said.

“Si Secretary Remulla, inorder na niya, inutusan na niya ang NBI (National Bureau of Investigation), PNP (Philippine National Police), with the assistance of Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation), to ensure na saraduhin na yung mga office ng mga ito,” the DOJ official said.

[Translation: Secretary Remulla has ordered the NBI, PNP, wIth the assistance of Pagcor, to ensure that their (POGO) offices are closed.]

Clavano said the DOJ chief met with the NBI to investigate illegal POGOs or those that continue to operate despite the cancellation of license.

The DOJ is expected to deport 281 POGO workers by Oct.1. Clavano said the agency will also deport at least 2,000 more workers from mid-October until December.

The agency earlier said around 40,000 POGO employees are staying in the country. Clavano said the DOJ needs a strategy to deport them “batch by batch.”

RELATED: 281 illegal POGO workers to be deported by Oct. 1

Clavano said Remulla recently met with Chinese embassy officials to strengthen bilateral cooperation against POGO-related crimes, and to ensure the smooth deportation of Chinese nationals.

The DOJ official also assured investigations into these crimes are underway.

RELATED: Gov’t agencies intensify efforts vs. POGO-related kidnapping cases

“Hindi naman sana umabot sa panahon na Pilipino naman ang magiging biktima… kaya patuloy ang investigation, patuloy ang paghuhuli ng mga illegal POGO operators and patuloy rin ang investigations dun sa mga krimen na ginagawa ng mga Chinese nationals,” Clavano said.

[Translation: It shouldn’t reach the time when Filipinos will be the victims... so the investigation continues, the arrest of illegal POGO operators continues and the investigation into crimes committed by Chinese nationals continues.]