Duterte won’t ban Pogos: Many will lose their jobs
MANILA, Philippines — Banning online gambling will affect the economy and thousands of workers in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday after China recently appealed for the Philippines to ban offshore gaming operations.
The President said he had told Chinese leader Xi Jinping during their meeting in China last week that many workers would lose their livelihood if he were to declare online gambling illegal.
“Maybe out of courtesy I will listen to you, but I decide,” the President said, partly in Filipino. “I decide that we need it. So many will lose their jobs.”
But he reminded Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos) to remit their dues to government faithfully or face consequences.
“If you make the mistake of not remitting, even if you’re a gambling lord, I don’t care who you are,” he said.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has suspended accepting applications for new Pogo firms until all concerns “have been addressed.”
The Bureau of Internal Revenue has collected about P200 million in taxes from foreigners working for Pogos, which employs about 130,000 Chinese nationals in the Philippines.
According to the Department of Finance, the government loses about P24 billion yearly for every 100,000 Pogo workers who do not pay taxes.
On Aug. 20, the Chinese foreign ministry called on the Philippines to ban all online gaming involving Chinese citizens, saying that “online gambling is a most dangerous tumor in modern society.”
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.