Duterte to Congress: Pass laws further regulating POGOs

Workers in an unidentified Philippines offshore gaming service call center field inquiries from foreign players. (Image: Asia Times)

President Rodrigo R. Duterte called on lawmakers to pass legislation to further regulate Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) amid the allegations that they are being used for illegal activities.

“If they can pass a law about POGO, fine, go ahead. Supervise it by law. Not us,” Duterte said during a press conference on late evening on Monday.

Several senators blamed POGO for the rise of criminal activities such as prostitution, kidnapping, human trafficking, and even money laundering. 

Duterte stressed he is not keen on banning POGOs due to the revenue they generate for the government.

Citing the report from Albay representative Jose “Joey” Salceda, Presidential spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said POGOs earn about P22 billion for the government.

“I assure you that every centavo collected from the gaming supervised by PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation), will — are accounted for. There is no corruption there. I will not allow it,” Duterte said.

He said he could not prohibit Chinese nationals from working for POGOs in the country since the Chinese government allows Filipinos to be employed in its territory, particularly in its special administrative region, Hong Kong.

According to 2019 data of Pagcor, 82 percent or 97,283 of the 118,239 workers in the POGO-related firms are foreign nationals. The bulk of these foreign nationals are Chinese.

Image credits: Asia Times



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