POGOs not welcome in Iloilo City — Treñas

Photo from Mayor Jerry Treñas FB page

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

There were offers to establish Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) in Iloilo City, but Mayor Jerry Treñas said they are not welcome due to reports of crime and corruption in their business operations.

“Several times there were offers to set up POGOs here, but I refused. I don’t want them in my city,” he said.

Treñas pointed out that POGOs have become breeding grounds for corruption because they employ their own staff, use their own equipment, and operate under their own rules, leaving the city government with limited capacity to regulate them.

He added that some Chinese cities have shown interest in establishing sister city relationships with Iloilo, but these proposals are still under review.

Iloilo City has three sister city ties with Chinese cities: Qingdao in 2000, Guangzhou City in Fujian province in 2020, and Wuhan in Hubei province in 2021.

Amid the increased presence of Chinese nationals in the city, Treñas said the city government has not monitored illegal operations among them.

“There are Chinese-exclusive subdivisions, but most of these Chinese have been doing business in Iloilo for a long time already. These are not newcomers,” he said.

Treñas also disclosed that the city government is not taking specific measures to internally monitor the operations of Chinese associations or individuals in Iloilo.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Arnel Solis, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office 6 (PRO-6), said they have not monitored any POGOs in Western Visayas.

“In the monitoring of POGOs, it is part of intelligence operatives and units to monitor and determine if illegal activities are happening in an area. If there are suspicious activities, we will then validate it,” he said.

Solis also denied that the 17 Chinese nationals arrested in connection with a cybersex operation in Iloilo City in November 2023 have any ties to POGOs.

“If there are violations, our police personnel are ready to operate. Not only PRO-6 but, of course, our national support units like the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the Regional Anti-Cyber Crime Unit are there to help us when needed,” he added.


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