Marcos says POGOs not worth it if there’s social cost to PH

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) might no longer be worth allowing if their conducts bring social cost to the country considering the crimes linked to them.advertisement

Marcos told reporters in Zurich, Switzerland on Friday that his administration is continuously determining whether the POGOs would still be good for the Philippines. 

He, however, pointed out that only illegal POGOs are the problem in the country as they were the ones usually involved in the abductions and killings.

“I don’t know what would be 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,” Marcos told reporters covering the World Economic Forum.

“This issue came up a while back but when it came up, it was a response to all of those killings and violence, those illegal POGOs were doing. So yeah, I think all of these things we should be continuously examining to see if it’s still continuous to be a good idea for the Philippines,” he added.

The President said he wants to know the motivation for banning the POGOs in the country as there may be a good reason for such.

Last year, the Chinese Embassy said the crimes associated with POGOs not only harm China’s interests but also the Philippines’.

The Embassy also stressed that the “social costs of POGO far outweigh its economic benefits to the Philippines in the long run and POGO should be tackled from the root so as to address the social ills in a sweeping manner.”

The Chinese government has been pursuing a crackdown on POGO workers.

“If China wants us to do that, we’ll see what the arrangement could be, ‘di ba,” Marcos said.

In September 2022, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the country should do away with POGOs, citing what he described as social and reputational risks.

He said the total revenues from the industry were estimated at P3.9 billion in 2021, versus the P7.2 billion recorded in the previous year. —KG, GMA Integrated News

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