House Committee on Appropriations Vice Chairman and Iloilo Rep Janette Garin appealed to the Senate and fellow lawmakers to ban Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) from the country.
According to Garin, the series of incidents of kidnapping, abduction, and other illegal activities involving Chinese nationals are giving fear to those who want to invest in the country.
“Now that we are opening up our economy and kidnapping and human trafficking headlining our daily news, it is driving away investors considering that its creating a misinformation that the Philippines is not safe,” said Garin.
It can be remembered that the issues and cases involving POGO due to abduction and human trafficking are almost ones after the other.
Although POGO brings in a lot of revenue to PAGCOR, Garin said it is not enough if the country's image continues to be damaged.
“It has become a door to several crimes. The Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators hubs have become havens for undesirable aliens, drug and human trafficking, prostitution and other crime syndicates for money laundering and illicit operations,” explained Garin.
Solon wants to ban POGO in the Philippines
Garin supported the earlier statement of Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, who also favors stopping the operation of POGO because of the bad reputation it brings.
POGO's underground operation in the Philippines began in 2003, but in 2016 its operation came to a head after being legalized under the term of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
Online casinos that are based in the Philippines but primarily target clients from other countries are known as POGOs. The Amusement and Gaming Corporation of the Philippines issues licenses for their operation (PAGCOR). They must prevent anyone in the Philippines, any Filipino person living abroad, or any potential customer in a country or territory where offshore gambling is illegal from using their services or risk revoking their license.
As of May 2019, there were 138,000 foreigners working for POGOs, 83,760 of them had special work visas that allowed them to remain in the nation for a maximum of six months. Filipino citizens make up just 17% of POGO employees. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a considerable decline in employment.
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