President Rodrigo Duterte rejected the suggestions of some Senators to suspend or declare the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) as illegal, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in an interview.
According to Panelo, Duterte decided to continue the operations of POGOs in the country because of the positive report he received from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (POGO).
He also explained that the country needs to get funds to fight the COVID-2019, especially that the Department of Health (DOH) already confirmed the first local transmission of the virus in the country.
“Ang sabi niya (Duterte) sa akin kahapon, maganda yung report ni PAGCOR head. Maganda raw ang report sa kanya. Kailangan talaga natin ng pondo galing diyan. Marami tayong projects na kailangan natin ng pondo. For instance, for the salaries of the nurses, for teachers, marami,” Panelo said.
“In fact, meron na namang tayong problema sa coronavirus. Pwede ring pagkunan yan,” he added.
PAGCOR reported that the country earned P8-B from POGOs and it also gave 19,000 jobs to Filipinos.
Panelo believes that while POGOs are facing controversies, especially that there are some reported money laundering activities committed some Chinese in the country, the presidential spokesperson insisted that the issues could be solved by making “laws and regulations.”
“Yung mga problema diyan sa operations, yan ay magagawan ng paraan,” Panelo said.
The calls to ban POGOs in the country started when Senator Richard Gordon started to probe the alleged illegal activities committed by Chinese nationals in the country.
Even Senator Franklin Drilon said that the revenues being brought by POGO is not enough to justify the problems being brought by the Chinese nationals.
“I am disappointed at the statement of PAGCOR saying [they] are in favor of POGO continuing in our shores because of the income we earn — such a short-ranged statement,” the senator said.
“The social problems they have brought in our country is not worth the regulation fees that you earn,” he added. “Why are we so in love with POGOs?”