DILG Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. (PNA photo by Robert Oswald Alfiler)

MANILA – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin "Benhur" Abalos Jr. said Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) that will be involved in illegal activities will be shut down.

Abalos' warning came after the PNP-Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) rescued 42 Chinese nationals who were detained within a POGO establishment in an operation in Angeles City, Pampanga on Wednesday.

The DILG chief said they are now coordinating with the Chinese Embassy and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) which regulates the POGO industry and some representatives of registered POGO industries to create a system of reportorial requirements for these gaming operators.

“There must be a system here. Remember POGO is a franchise, nagtatrabaho sila dito, may mga working permits sila (They are working here they have working permits). All that we have to do tingnan natin yung kanilang (we look into the) list from the immigration, from the POGO themselves. They must submit ilan na yung wala na sa kanila, yung hindi na nagtatrabaho para ma-filter natin ito (those employees who are not working there anymore so we will be able to filter the names). There is a way here for them to account for their employees,” Abalos told reporters in a press briefing at Camp Crame late Wednesday afternoon.

During the briefing, Abalos presented suspect Chen Yi Bien alias Ayi, 33, human resource manager of Lucky South 99.

The suspect was allegedly involved in the kidnapping of 42 foreigners. He is now undergoing debriefing by the PNP-AKG.

"All I can say is that the PNP under PBBM's administration will do everything. We will definitely look for it. We will use all the forces of the government so don't worry as what we are doing right now you have seen results here but the important thing here is that we can filter out, what is true, what is not true but above all there are results,” Abalos said.

Abalos said the pieces of evidence obtained during the rescue operation will be reviewed to determine the liability of the POGO's management.

“We will have to review the evidence if the management really has something to do with it and if it really knows it's happening. Not only this may be closed but more people will be behind bars here," he added.

Meanwhile, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin Jr. said they are now accounting police officers who can speak Chinese to address the language barrier which hampers investigation of cases involving POGO workers.

"We are accounting the police officers who know the Chinese language, Mandarin, Fookien but generally Mandarin. We are looking for them because they could help in the investigation of these cases but right now we are relying on Chinese interpreters of our friends which are being provided by our friends from the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc. So they had really been a great help to our AKG and when they came to see us they voluntarily gave their help,” Azurin said.

He said they also established a help desk in police stations specifically for areas where many foreigners are located.

Hindi lang Chinese help desk, Korean help desk. Lahat ay ipo-provide natin para mabilis ang pagtugon ng ating kapulisan. In any complaint, naintindihan nila, may mag assist po sa mga foreign complainants (in) police stations natin (Aside from Chinese help desk, we also have Korean help desks. We will provide everything so that our police can respond quickly. In any complaint, they understood, someone will assist the foreign complainants (in) our police stations),” he said. (PNA)