Mar 27, 2023 Newsdesk Latest News, Philippines, Top of the deck
Philippine senator Sherwin Gatchalian has urged the country’s government to ban Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs). Mr Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Ways and Means, recommended the shutdown of POGOs in three months, according to local media reports.
Mr Gatchalian released a report last week, based on the inquiry led by his panel and the Senate’s economic affairs committee on the effects of POGOs on the nation’s economy.
“The data and evidence on hand all point to the same conclusion: enough is enough. It is time to ban offshore gaming operations in the Philippines, once and for all,” he reportedly said.
The report asserted that POGOs were not making “any significant economic contributions” to the country’s economy, but were exerting what could be perceived as “growing criminal influence” on some the nation’s law enforcement agencies.
The document also: recommends aiding affected Filipinos working for POGOS; urges the collection of the outstanding tax liabilities of POGO licensees, service providers, and the third-party auditor; and calls for the cancellation of working visas to foreign POGO workers.
Earlier this month, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor) said it had terminated the contract with a third-party auditor responsible for auditing POGOs. It said the service provider was found to be “in default of its obligations” and to “have committed unlawful acts”.
Mr Gatchalian released the report after obtaining enough signatures from committee members to be able to formally present the report to the Senate’s plenary.
The senator said he would furnish a copy of the report to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr, who he expects to support his recommendations.
Other members of the Senate have however suggested to give more time for POGOs to stop operations. Senator Sonny Angara told the official Philippine News Agency that giving POGOs, especially the legitimate ones, three months to stop their operations may not be enough.
“I don’t believe three months is adequate time and notice to wrap up operations, especially for those who have made substantial investments,” Mr Angara said in a written statement.
“A longer period would be more reasonable/justified given it was also the government which invited them to invest in the first place,” he added.
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