THE National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) on Thursday said the country can survive even without the revenues from the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO).
Neda Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan disclosed he is confident the Marcos administration can secure new investments to replace the lost revenues from the proposed phaseout of POGOs.
The Department of Finance (DOF) reported tax collections from 32 registered POGOs last year reached P8.88 billion.
“Yeah, we have been moving around in many countries, cities, attracting an investment to the country; marketing our country as a good place to do business,” Balisacan said during a press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday.
He noted the Marcos administration is trying to attract investments, which will not only boost the economy, but also contribute to social development.
“I think that what we want to encourage are very legitimate, you know, that’s legitimate investments, good investments in the sense good quality investments…that will produce goods and services and not ones that promote negative externalities to society such as those alleged crimes or…and related issues,” Balisacan said.
Neda made the pronouncement amid the ongoing call in the Senate for the gradual phaseout of POGO as more crimes are linked to the sector.
Based on its data from 2017 to Sept. 30, 2022, the Philippine National Police was able to register 99 Pogo-related criminal activities, which includes kidnap-for-ransom, cybercrimes, human trafficking and serious illegal detention.
NEDA recognized the high “social cost” of POGOs and is now backing the move by lawmakers to abolish the sector.
“Our position at NEDA which we have submitted some time ago…[is] the social costs [of POGOs] are quite high, and we don’t think that the benefits in terms of the revenues generated and the additional…and the impact on the economy are worth the cost,” Balisacan said.