Pogo operations near PH military bases should be stopped--Teodoro

Illegal Pogo operations in PH should be stopped – Teodoro

/ 11:42 AM June 12, 2024

Defense secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. delivers his speech at the 22nd General Assembly of the Veterans Confederation of ASEAN Countries 2023 (VECONAC 2023) at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City on Tuesday, November 28, 2023. INQUIRER.net/Ryan Leagogo

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. delivered his speech at the 22nd General Assembly of the Veterans Confederation of ASEAN Countries 2023 (VECONAC 2023) at Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila in Pasay City on Tuesday, November 28, 2023. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO/Ryan Leagogo

MANILA, Philippines — Citing its adverse effects on the country, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Wednesday said the illegal operations of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operation (Pogo) sites should be stopped.

“The concern is that we should stop these syndicated criminal activities operating out of our base, which weaken our financial standing, our country ratings, [and] corrupt our society,” Teodoro said, as quoted in a Department of National Defense statement on Wednesday.


Teodoro made the remark during last week’s celebration of Sweden’s National Day and reception for Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson.


INQUIRER.net and other news outlets initially reported that Teodoro called for the closure of Pogos near military bases.

On Thursday, Department of National Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong clarified Teodoro’s remark on “bases.” He said Teodoro was referring to the country as a whole and not pertaining to military bases.

“The ‘base’ he was referring to, is our financial, economic base—basically our country. He was not referring to a military camp or in some reports, Edca sites, which is very far from what he meant.”
Edca or the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement sites, are Philippine military bases where the United States are allowed to store equipment and deploy their troops.

“He did not say anything as alleged in some news reports that Pogo facilities near military camps should be shut down. He was purely referring to the effect on our country’s ratings, economy, and the effects it will have as a whole,” Andolong further said.

READ: Pogo sites near Philippine military bases likened to ‘Trojan horse’

The defense chief noted that the Pogo sites run by China should not be classified as traditional Pogos, which is more akin to business processing outsourcing or BPO industries.


“For example, there are legitimate Pogos where the bets and the payoffs are taken from other countries [such as] horse racing in Europe, [and] sports betting; only the matching of bets and payouts are done here, but the bets originate [from] outside [the country],” Teodoro said.

“Yung POGO na alam natin [dito sa Pilipinas] na operated to evade the ban on gambling in China; the bets originate here. So, may diperensya,” he added.

(The Pogo we know here in the country is operated to evade the ban on gambling in China, but the bets originate here. So, there is a difference.)

READ: AFP reviewing potential risks of Pogo sites near PH military bases

In 2019, former Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed alarm about the location of casino and Pogo sites near vital military installations.

Lorenzana even noted that the Chinese workers in Pogo facilities can shift their operations to spying, and to mitigate such risks, the former defense chief said the government should designate a  Pogo camp “far from military camps.”

There is a lingering suspicion about the location of Pogo sites near Armed Forces of the Philippines sites, with security expert Chester Cabalza even calling it a “Trojan horse” that could be used by China to stage a “surprise attack” against vital military installations.

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A former island resort called Island Cove in Kawit, Cavite, has been retrofitted into a Pogo site after being sold by the Remulla family in 2018. The site is just a few kilometers from Sangley Point, a former US base in Cavite province.

There are also Chinese casinos and Pogo sites near Metro Manila military headquarters, including AFP’s Camp Aguinaldo and the Philippine National Police headquarters Camp Crame in Quezon City; the Philippine Air Force headquarters in Pasay City; the Philippine Army headquarters in Taguig City and the Philippine Navy headquarters in Manila.

TAGS: Gilberto Teodoro Jr., POGO

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