President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. stated that the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) might no longer be worth permitting if their activities cause a social cost to the country due to the crimes associated with them.
On Friday, Marcos told reporters in Zurich, Switzerland, that his administration is always assessing whether the POGOs are still beneficial to the Philippines.
He did, however, warn that only illegal POGOs are a problem in the country because they are usually involved in kidnappings and murders.
“I don’t know what would be the point. It’s not a huge part of our economy. And if it’s adjudged that there is a social cost, it might not be worth it. The cost might not be worth what they’re paying in taxes anymore,” Marcos told reporters covering the World Economic Forum.
“This issue came up a while back but when it came up, it was a response to all of those killings and violence, those illegal POGOs were doing. So yeah, I think all of these things we should be continuously examining to see if it’s still continuous to be a good idea for the Philippines,” he added.
The President stated that he wants to know the reasoning for prohibiting POGOs in the country since there could be a valid justification.
Marcos: POGOS ‘not a huge part of our economy’
The Chinese Embassy stated last year that the crimes related to POGOs affect not only China’s interests but also those of the Philippines.
The Embassy also emphasized that “social costs of POGO far outweigh its economic benefits to the Philippines in the long run and POGO should be tackled from the root so as to address the social ills in a sweeping manner.”
The Chinese government has started cracking down on POGO employees.
“If China wants us to do that, we’ll see what the arrangement could be, ‘di ba,” Marcos said.
In September 2022, Benjamin Diokno, who was in charge of the country’s finances, said that POGOs were bad for society and the country’s reputation.
He thought that the total income from the industry would rise to P3.9 billion in 2021, from P7.2 billion the year before.