Joint Statement Supporting the Phaseout of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs)

25 October 2022 – We express our full support to the complete phaseout of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs).

 

The social and reputational costs of government sponsorship of operations that are globally frowned upon far outweigh any economic benefits. For the past years, regulatory oversight has been a problem, resulting in monitoring and taxation issues with our licensing agency. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). Conflicting mandates and the lure of corruption have rendered it and other involved government agencies incapable of effectively regulating POGOs. Crimes, like money laundering, kidnaping, bribery, prostitution, human and drug trafficking  – all associated with the gambling industry – impact on our record of law and order, and our reputation. The taint of money laundering diminishes confidence in our banking system and puts legitimate financial flows, including from OFWs, at risk from sanctions of international oversight bodies. Our connectivity to international banking, and the business and OFW communities who depend on it must be protected. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the POGO industry has significantly declined by 50% to 70%. This suggests that now is the best time to terminate their operations. The total ban will only result in temporary economic strains, as opposed to the enduring socio-economic consequences and heavier disruption if we do not act now. The Chinese government has been quite categorical in its objections to POGO, which they characterized as “harming not only China’s interest and China-Philippines relations but also hurt the interests of the Philippines.” 

We fully support the Department of Finance’s (DOF) push to phase out all POGO operations, and urge our legislators and the Executive Department to take all actions necessary to execute in an orderly way.

 

FOUNDATION FOR ECONOMIC FREEDOM (FEF)

MAKATI BUSINESS CLUB (MBC)

MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES (MAP)

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