Authorities arrested 63 Chinese nationals and 13 Filipinos who are working in illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) in Barangay Olimpia, Makati City, on Tuesday.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) on Wednesday said the police operation was launched at a residential building along Obrero Street.
Police said a tipster informed them of the online gambling activity in the building. A certain Xiao Bao allegedly operates the illegal POGO.
Authorities seized two monitors, 51 pieces of internet modems, 13 pieces of keyboards and mouse, cash worth P115,200 and US $16, assorted computer cables and wires, a speaker, 42 pieces of white adaptor, 23 identification cards, a Security Bank check booklet, 11 Chinese passports, and some load cards.
Authorities brought the suspects to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. Xiao Bao, however, remains at large.
NCRPO said the suspects would face charges for violating of Section 9 para (d) (Non-cooperation of persons and entities that should report and/or respond to notifiable disease or health events of public concern); PD 1602 (Prescribing stiffer penalties on illegal gambling) as amended by RA 9287 (An act increasing the penalties for illegal number games amending the certain provision of PD 1602 and for other purposes) concerning section 6 of RA 10175 (Cybercrime prevention act of 2012); and Article 151 of the Revised Penal Code.
Police Major General Debold Sinas, NCRPO chief, urged foreign nationals in Metro Manila to obey the law, especially during this time of pandemic crisis.
“A lot has changed from the way we live our lives before, and there is no way for us to conquer this battle against the unseen but through collaborated concerted effort. We are all in this together. Please, let’s all work together to heal as one nation,” Sinas said.
The Philippine government on May 1 allowed POGOs to partially operate amid the enhanced community quarantine implementation until May 15.
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) chairman and CEO Andrea Domingo said 30% of the workforce in POGOs would be allowed to report, provided that they should follow precautionary measures.
Domingo said there are about 90,000 Chinese nationals in the POGO industry, the majority of which are working in the BPO answering gaming-related calls.