Deputy Speaker Benny Abante Jr. reiterated his longstanding opposition to Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs), and said that there is growing evidence that the country does not benefit from POGO operations that are supposed to bring in billions of pesos in revenues.
“No revenue, no benefits! The only ones profiting from this immoral industry are POGO operators who cannot even be expected to pay the government what it is due,” said the anti-gambling advocate, who last year filed House Bill Number 6701 or the Anti-POGO Act of 2020, which expressly prohibits the “conduct of online games of chance or sporting events via the internet using a network and software or program, exclusively to offshore authorized players, within Philippine territory.”
According to COA, 15 POGOs failed to remit the revenues to PAGCOR, with the top two delinquent POGOs owing the government a total of P642.37 million.
Abante pointed out that a recent Commission on Audit (COA) report revealed that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) has receivables amounting to 1.365 billion pesos from POGOs––some of which are already one or three years past due.
According to COA, 15 POGOs failed to remit the revenues to PAGCOR, with the top two delinquent POGOs owing the government a total of 642.37 million pesos.
“PAGCOR has already canceled the licenses of both POGOs, which collectively owe the government close to 650 million pesos. There are other POGOs with unpaid dues that no longer have their licenses; what are the chances PAGCOR will still be able to collect from them?” asked Abante.
The legal department of PAGCOR admitted that of the 15 POGOs with delinquencies, eight have had their licenses canceled, one was suspended, and three were under review.
“POGOs come in, get their licenses, bring in their own people, make money, then leave without paying a single centavo.”
With a majority of POGOs with collectibles no longer operating in the country, the lawmaker said that “it appears that many of the POGOs that set up shop in the Philippines have no intention of parting with their profits and paying their dues.”
“Parang hit and run ito; the POGOs come in, get their licenses, bring in their own people, make money, then leave without paying a single centavo. Wala tayong pakinabang sa POGO! We must wake up to this reality and shut our doors to this industry; wag na tayo magpaloko sa mga ‘to.”