Duterte will not close down POGOs as all of its problems can be fixed: 'Kailangan natin ang pondo'

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President Rodrigo Duterte has no plan to shut down Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) amid rising issues that these are being used for money laundering and have led to kidnappings, extortion and even murder.

The president is seemed convinced by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (Pagcor) “good” report that POGOs have economic benefits.

“Ganoon pa rin. He will not suspend it nor will stop it. Ang sabi niya sa akin kahapon, maganda ‘yung report ni Pagcor. Maganda daw ‘yung report sa kanya. So okay ),” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

Duterte made the move despite pressure from some lawmakers that POGOs are illegal.

Pagcor highlighted that that the government was able to collect around P7 billion from fees and licenses from the offshore gaming companies.

Panelo stressed that the government needs funds collected from POGOs to address the outbreak of 2019 coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country. It could also be used to raise the monthly salaries of nurses and teachers.

“Kailangan talaga natin ‘yung pondo na galing doon. Marami tayong projects na kailangan natin ng pondo,” the Presidential spokesman said

Panelo also said that issues could be addressed by implementing stricter rules and regulations. 

“‘Yung mga problema diyan sa operation, iyan eh magagawan ng paraan iyan. All you have to do is to implement, establish rules and regulations,” he said.

According to reports, there are around 60 POGOs operating in the country.

One of the senators who questioned POGOs operation is Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.

He also raised the question why can't the Philippine government manage to shut down these overseas online gaming if other countries like Cambodia was able to do so.

“They were stopped upon the request of China because they are illegal in China so the question is why did we accept all of them when it was in fact stopped in Cambodia and because it was illegal in China?” Drilon asked.

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