Pagcor says no licensed Pogo hubs next to Edca sites

pagcor says no licensed pogo hubs next to edca sites

Pagcor says no licensed Pogo hubs next to Edca sites

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) on Thursday said they have not issued any licenses to any Philippine Offshore Gaming Operation (Pogo) sites operating next to Enhance Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) locations.

“We have not given any license to any companies located beside any Edca site,” Pagcor chairman Alejandro Tengco told reporters in a phone interview.

Tengco made the statement as the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) on Thursday said that “a good number” of Pogo sites are located near Edca sites.

“We have shared our concerns with the proper authorities,” said PAOCC spokesperson John Casio at the Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon Public Briefing.

Should there be a Pogo site next to an Edca location, Tengco said it must be an illegal one.

In April 2023, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Kr. allowed the United States access to four more Philippine military bases under the Edca, which allows Washington to store equipment and their troops there.

Three of these Edca sites, two in Cagayan and another one in Isabela, are facing Taiwan, which was regarded by China as a renegade province subject to reunification.

These irked Beijing, stressing that the agreement was made so that Washington could “encircle and contain China” which would drag the Philippines into “the Taiwan question,” a claim that was rejected by Manila.

Earlier, Tengco also denied that there are Pogo hubs next to key military installations in the country.

Tengco said they placed the licenses of 300 Pogos under probationary status sometime in September last year and only 46 of them got their accreditations back as part of a widespread crackdown against illegal activities of the offshore gaming sites. Tengco said that another crackdown was conducted on these remaining 46 sites, trimming down the total number of accredited sites — now termed as “internet gaming licensees” — to 43.

On Thursday, National Security Adviser Eduardo Año said the existence of Pogo sites in the country does not yet constitute a “national security threat” that would need military involvement like in cases of terrorism and insurgency.

Rather, Año said it is only a national concern that the police and civilian agencies could still handle.

There are lingering suspicions about certain Pogo site locations, 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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