Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon shared the concerns raised by Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana over the growing presence of Chinese-dominated Philippine online gaming operations (POGO), saying its close proximity to military camps spell danger.
“I support Sec. Lorenzana’s recommendation on POGO location. The security aspect is something that we cannot just brush aside. I cannot understand why we cannot have POGO locations farther away from military camps,” Drilon told CNN Philippines on Monday.
Drilon also described the Chinese embassy’s statement that overseas Filipino workers in China may also be suspected of spying as “absurd and beyond the realm of possibility.”
“Sec. Lorenzana is a competent official and his job is to advise us on matter of security. He has nothing but good interntions. We should defer to him,” he added.
Drilon said the possibility that POGO workers could be used for information gathering is not a remote possibility.
“We don’t know. Maybe not right now, but it gives them the opportunity when there’s a need for it. It’s convenient when there is a need for it. Why should we leave that chance unchecked? Drilon stressed.
The minority leader also said that there is no way Filipino workers in China could be engaged in spying activities for the Philippines.
“This is absurd and simply beyond the realm of possibilities. Our OFWs are there to earn a living,” Drilon said.
Asked if he would support a total ban of POGO, Drilon responded: “I would like to think there is certainly great merit into looking at the possibility of closing down POGOs. I am against gambling.”
He noted that gambling is ban in China, while other countries including Cambodia closed down online gambling.
“Why should we allow our country to be China’s biggest casino?” asked Drilon.
Drilon also pointed out how Filipinos were deprived of opportunites to earn a living in the POGO industry, which employs thousands of Chinese workers. SENATE.GOV.PH