POGOs is under fire again. A Senate probe is being called by Senator Leila de Lima into the Philippine Offshore Gambling Operator.
She has taken it upon herself to lead the opposition against the operator. In fact, she has filed Senate Resolution 440 to call for government action, alleging a rise in POGO activities during the Covid-19 pandemic. In her view,
“There is a need to determine the resolve in which our law enforcement sector to implement our laws against POGOs.”
As expected, most POGOs are operating within the law, but the senator wants some answers from the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).
The regulator of the gambling sector, as well as the Department of Finance need to explain why POGOs should continue. As De Lima states it, “in spite of their well-documented, repeated and continuous offenses against Philippine laws.”
She is apparently out for blood and is questioning not only the operators but the regulatory authorities as well. (She isn’t the only one by the way.)
“The Philippine National Police, the Department of Justice, and the Bureau of Immigration should report on cases involving Pogos and they are dealt with to determine if our government is meeting challenges posed against our rule of law.”
PAGCOR has already enabled POGO operations to partially resume as of the beginning of May despite the on-going quarantine. The operators must adhere to stated health requirements and remit any past taxes. To date, they haven’t and police have had to raid sever unlicensed sites.
It has been a low-key approach to law enforcement in the Philippines, prompting the harsh opposition by Senator De Lima.
“The current administration’s kid-glove approach against POGO-related criminality has emboldened these POGOs to continue their activities unimpeded, with no regard for our laws nor our standards for public health and safety.”
Congress should now step up and re-evaluate regulation policies, she asserted. No matter the impact of shuttering POGOs for the local economy!