Since the start of 2023, the Philippine National Police (PNP) has arrested about 41,000 individuals operating illegal gambling operations across the Philippines, according to the Philippine News Agency last Tuesday.
Most of the arrested have been involved in online gaming, said PNP chief Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr in a radio interview.
“May mga nahuli pagdating sa actual (operations). Pero gaya nang nasabi ko, when it comes to actual, lalo yung mga pure na online, mahirap pagkonektahin. Kasi hinahanap ng korte yung bet. Yun ang problema natin kung minsan. Those are the hindrances na na-encounter ng kapulisan pagdating sa actual (There were some arrested during actual operations. But like I’ve said, when it comes to actual, particularly if done purely online, it was difficult to connect it since the court looks for the bet. That is sometimes the problem. Those are the hindrances the police have encountered when it comes to actual operations).”
Meanwhile, the Senate has recently opened on the possible tax increase of the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs). This prompted POGOs to resort to shady businesses. So far, cases of human trafficking, exploitation, coercion, and other crimes, are rampant. Hence, the government is now discussing whether to impose a total POGO ban.
E-Sabong operators are also under scrutiny as the industry was tainted with corruption. From being one of the huge sources of revenue in the Philippines, the gaming segment was ordered to cease all operations.
Illegal Gambling Arrests Result of PNP-PCSO Collaboration
The PNP and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) have joined forces in tracking and shutting down illegal gambling activities through their initiative “one strike and no take policy.”
In a previous statement by Acorda, the policy means that no negligence or inaction of police personnel will be allowed. They will also be scrutinized under the doctrine of command responsibility.
Said doctrine states, “Any government official or supervisor, or officer of the Philippine National Police or that of any other law enforcement agency shall be held accountable for “Neglect of Duty” under the doctrine of “command responsibility” if he has knowledge that a crime or offense shall be committed, is being committed, or has been committed by his subordinates, or by others within his area of responsibility and, despite such knowledge, he did not take preventive or corrective action either before, during, or immediately after its commission.”
Besides, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporations (PAGCOR) have been faring well in tracking and cracking on unlicensed casino operators. It’s a result of the Senate reprimanding the agency for incompetence.
Currently, it has become part of the Clark Security Advisory Council (CSAC). The CSAC is a new organizational body tasked with combatting human trafficking in the Philippines.