Bicol, Philippines Police Detain More Than 2,700 Individuals in Illegal Gambling Crackdown

Bicol police nab thousands in fight against illegal gambling in the region, vows to intensify crackdown
The Philippine National Police in the Bicol (PNP Bicol) region nabbed as many as 2,701 individuals on illegal gambling charges during the first three quarters of the year, the Police Regional Office 5 (PRO5) said in a statement from earlier today. The announcement arrives at a time when the country’s gambling regulator, PAGCOR, is stepping up efforts to crack down on illegal gambling operations, particularly ones conducted via the Internet.
According to PNP-Bicol spokesperson Chief Inspector Maria Luisa Calubaquib, the multiple operations conducted in the period between January and September resulted in a total of 787 cases being filed in court. In addition, police seized PHP404,846 in cash that had been wagered illegally. Ms. Calubaquib also pointed out in a statement from earlier today that local police will intensify its crackdown on illegal gambling in the region.
The PRO5 called for the “continuous cooperation and support” of the local community as well as of gambling industry and other stakeholders in police’s fight against the illegal provision of gambling. Ms. Calubaquib stressed that efforts will be stepped up as illegal gambling activities are considered a social menace and a tool for corruption and other illegal activities as well as for people’s “disregard of the value of dignified work, perseverance, and thrift”.
Bicol is a region in the Philippines that includes the southern portion of the Luzon Island and nearby provinces. According to information from local police, as many as 493 individuals were arrested in Albay, 384 in Camarines Norte, 748 in Camarines Sur, 140 in Catanduanes, 301 in Masbate, 578 in Sorsogon, and 57 in Naga City over the period between January and September.
PAGCOR Steps Its Game Against Illegal Online Gambling
News about Bicol cracking down on illegal gambling operations came shortly after PAGCOR, the Philippines gambling regulator, revealed that during the first nine months of the year, it raided 170 establishments believed to have been providing illegal online gambling services.
Only entities holding Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators licenses are allowed to provide gambling services from within the country. And these are only allowed to target customers located outside the Philippines.
The raided businesses operated without being authorized to do so. They were found to have been servicing customers from various Asia-Pacific countries, most notably from China. During the raids, PAGCOR and the government-run agencies it has been working jointly with over the past several years to crack down on illegal gambling that foreign citizens had worked for the illegal online gambling businesses without the necessary immigration and labor papers.
PAGCOR vowed to punish all businesses operating without the necessary licenses. As for the individuals apprehended during the raids, they all face charges or deportation, the regulator clarified.
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