In line with its mission to maintain social order, uphold its commitment to economic development, and to protect the welfare of the Pamilyang Valenzuelano, the City Government of Valenzuela led by Mayor WES Gatchalian and the City Council passed ordinances prohibiting several kinds of illegal gambling and Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) in the City.
In response to the recent reports of several social, economic, and security issues like money laundering, human trafficking, and prostitution caused by the immense illegal gambling and POGO operations throughout the country, the City Government of Valenzuela approved Ordinances No. 1105, 1107, and 1108, Series of 2023 entitled “An Ordinance Disallowing Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) within the Territorial Jurisdiction of Valenzuela City”, “Online Gambling and STL Moratorium Ordinance”, and “2023 Anti-Illegal Gambling Ordinance”, respectively.
The said ordinances specify the scope of the ban, as well as outline all the prohibited acts regarding illegal gambling and POGOs, together with their corresponding penalties.
Enacted last June 22, Ordinance No. 1105 states that all POGO entities seeking license to operate within Valenzuela City, including POGO agents, service providers, and gaming support providers involved in offshore gaming activities are prohibited to engage in any POGO-related activities within the territorial jurisdiction of Valenzuela City. Violators shall face administrative fines ranging from Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (PhP200,000.00) to Three Hundred Thousand Pesos (PhP300,000.00). It further provides that any person, natural or juridical, who is found liable in violating any of the provisions of the Ordinance shall be fined Five Thousand Pesos (PhP5,000.00) or one year imprisonment, or both, subject to the discretion of the court.
Ordinance No. 1108, on the other hand, states that all persons within the territorial jurisdiction of Valenzuela City are prohibited to participate, bet, engage, take part, establish, operate, manage, finance, or maintain any illegal gambling activities such as topada, sakla, video karera, jueteng, cara y cruz, ending, masiao, last two, horse racing to include bookie operations, 7-11 or any game using dice, black jack, lucky nine, poker, monte, baccarat, tong-its, cuajao, high and low mahjong, domino, and any other games using plastic scheme tiles, slot machines, roulette, street racing, dice games, card games, games of chance, games of skill, or any other kinds of illegal gambling activities. Violators shall face administrative fines ranging from One Thousand Pesos (PhP1,000.00) to Fifty Thousand Pesos (PhP50,000.00). It is also stated that any person proven liable in violating any part of the ordinance shall be fined Five Thousand Pesos (PhP5,000.00) or one year imprisonment, or both, subject to the discretion of court.
Finally, Ordinance No. 1107 implies a temporary disallowance of new or pending application, establishment, and operation of Online Games of Chance including Online Casino, E-Games, Online Sabong, E-Bingo, Online Poker or any form of Online Gambling and Small Town Lottery (STL) within the City for a period of five (5) years. However, online gambling establishments currently operating in Valenzuela City with a valid business permit shall be allowed to continue their operations.
In an interview, Mayor WES said, “Ito pong ordinansa na iyan, last year pa po ‘pag upo ko, isa na ‘yan sa mga priority measure ko, we just needed some time na pag-aralan ito, lalong-lalo na ‘yung POGO, kasi ang POGO, again is a program of PAGCOR, ang STL is a program of PCSO. Our Legal Department just needed some time to study this dahil ayaw naman po nating makalaban ang mga national agencies. Alam naman po natin na nakakasira po ng buhay ‘yan. Dito po sa amin, sad to say, noong pandemic ‘yung binigay na ayuda, imbis na ipambili ng pagkain ay inuuna pa yung pantaya sa e-sabong at sa mga sugal. I believe that is not morally correct. What more if i-legitimize pa natin ito? Lalo pang ma-eengganyo yung mga tao na tumaya. This is already a culture for us dito sa lugar namin. We do not condone gambling here in the City.” [It has been my priority to pass this ordinance since I became the mayor last year, we just needed some time to study everything, especially POGO, since POGO is a program of PAGCOR while STL is a program of PCSO. Our Legal Department just needed some time to analyze this because we do not want to go against national agencies. We all know that gambling can destroy the lives of the people. If we remember, during the pandemic, instead of buying food, the people used our financial assistance to spend on gambling. I believe it is not morally correct. If we legitimize this, people will be encouraged to continue gambling. This is already a culture for us here in Valenzuela. We do not condone gambling here in the City.] He then added that the City Government stands its ground using the Local Government Code, saying that together with the City Council and a public hearing, an ordinance can be implemented in protecting the territorial jurisdiction of Valenzuela against any potential threat.
With these new regulations, the City Government reaffirms its dedication to maintain the safety and well-being of every Pamilyang Valenzuelano.
The Press Conference on Prohibitions of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) and other illegal gambling activities in Valenzuela City
Valenzuela City Mayor WES Gatchalian together with Vice Mayor Lorie Natividad-Borja, and City Councilor Ricar Enriquez hold a press conference to discuss the ordinances about “The Prohibitions of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) and other illegal gambling activities in Valenzuela City”, Tuesday, July 4, 2023, at the Valenzuela City Hall.
The ordinance prohibited several forms of illegal gambling including Baccarat, Betting, Blackjack, Cara-Cruz, Ending, Game-fixing, Poker, Sakla, Tong-its, Video Karera, Jueteng, and other forms of money betting games. Each violation, whether an individual or a gaming establishment owner, will receive proper punishment. (Clinton Ramos, Photo/Text)