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Press Release - Gatchalian deplores PAGCOR for issuing provisional license to "high-risk" POGOs

Senator Win Gatchalian deplored the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) for issuing provisional licenses to "high-risk" Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), saying such classification should be enough basis for the regulator to reject their license application.

In the case of Zun Yuan Technology Inc., the POGO company based in Bamban, Tarlac recently subjected to a police raid, PAGCOR itself has deemed the company a "high-risk" based on its risk profiling and yet was given a provisional license.

"Kapag high-risk, hindi na dapat payagan dahil ibig sabihin delikado na 'yan. At totoo nga, nagtuloy-tuloy pa ang iligal na operasyon nila. Kung walang mga complainant, baka marami pang human trafficking, torture, at mga online scam ang nangyari," Gatchalian said at a recent Senate hearing, referring to Zun Yuan Tech.

"I would suggest that since PAGCOR already started risk profiling internet gaming licensees or IGL applicants, those classified as high-risk should not be allowed to operate," he emphasized.

According to the senator, the provisional license created problems. He pointed out that the process of granting provisional licenses is not even included in the guidelines that PAGCOR itself formulated to supervise operations of POGOs in the country, now called IGLs.

"You are violating your own guidelines and that's why all of these crimes are being committed," he told PAGCOR officials.

The chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, Gatchalian further pointed out that Zun Yuan also failed to meet a PAGCOR requirement for an authorized capital stock (ACS) of at least P100 million with a paid-up capital stock of at least P25 million. Based on records, the minimum capital requirement has not been met when the provisional license was issued by PAGCOR.

Also, PAGCOR failed to properly conduct a probity check as it failed to ascertain that the residential address of Jamielyn Cruz, the Chairman of the Board of Zun Yuan, turned out to be non-existent or fake, according to Gatchalian.

"All of these scenarios were already red flags for Zun Yuan not to operate. The process of approving POGO licenses should be made simple: either they are qualified or not