by Vic V. VIZCOCHO, Jr.
SUBIC Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman & Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said she welcomes a congressional inquiry into the alleged possible links of POGO (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators) Chinese employees and illegal drugs in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ).
“I welcome the probe to thresh out and expose any party illegally operating in Subic,” Eisma told Subic Bay News, “SBMA will cooperate in the investigation.”
The SBMA head made the statement after Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, chairman of the House Committee on Dangerous Drugs, initiated a congressional probe on the alleged links to illegal drugs of some POGO workers inside the Freeport following the arrest on Thursday (July 30) night of six (6) Chinese nationals trying to exit the Freeport with a kilo of shabu estimated to be worth P6.8M.
Eisma said “the successful apprehension of the 6 Chinese suspects, as well as recent buy-busts in the Freeport, resulted from the cooperation and support of SBMA law enforcers with other govt. agencies like the police and PDEA”
A composite team of government agencies led by the Philippines Drug Enforcement Agency-National Capital Region (PDEA-NCR), National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), Intelligence Service-Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) and Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group PNP-HPG collared the suspects at the Freeport’s Tipo Gate aboard a Nissan X-Trail vehicle.
Two other vehicles, a Toyota Alphard and Hi-Ace Van allegedly slipped through the team’s dragnet, however, that prompted Barbers, among other reasons, to seek the house inquiry.
““What is worrisome and suspicious is that only one (1) kilo of shabu was seized or ‘declared’ to have been seized from the suspects,” Barbers said in an earlier statement, “Hindi siguro sasama pa ang ISAFP at NICA sa ops ng PDEA-NCR kung paisa-isang kilo lang ang lakad na ito.”
“Kung totoong minonitor at pinostehan in a period of time ng ating mga anti-drug at intel agents and mga suspects, sigurado na malalaman nila kung sino-sino ang mga ito at ang kanilang mga kasabwat, pati na mga sasakyan na gamit nila,” he added.
POGO firms in the Subic Bay Freeport employ thousands of Chinese from Communist China to cater to gamblers in mainland China, online.
Housed in hotels, some already operating exclusively for POGO firms, as well as former schools and a former hospital, they enjoy limited interference even from SBMA authorities, whose inspection attempt at the height of the lockdown due to the Covid-19 (Wuhan Virus) pandemic to check if it really ceased operations, was denied. (VVV)