President Bongbong Marcos is in no rush to ban Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGO). He said that the government must first identify whether POGOs are beneficial to the country as immediately banning them must have a solid reason.
In a press briefing in Zurich last Friday, Marcos said, “It depends what the purpose is of banning them or removing them, because the problem in reference to POGOs, the problems come from the illegal ones, not the legal ones.”
He clarified, “The legal ones pay their bills, pay their taxes.” Marcos said that POGOs involved in killings are those that are illegal. He said that illegal POGOs must be shut down, and their people deported.
In terms of a blanket policy banning all POGOs in the country, Marcos said that he does not see the point. “It’s not a huge part of our economy. And if it’s adjudged that there is a social cost, it might not be worth it. The cost might not be worth what they’re paying in taxes anymore.”
Last October, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) reported that taxes generated by the POGO industry amounted to P4.4 billion in the first eight months of 2022. This is an increase from the P3.91 billion worth of taxes in the whole of 2021.
In the case that China needs assistance in taking down POGOs, Marcos said “if China wants us to do that, we’ll see what the arrangement could be.”