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Senator from the Philippines demands that all POGOs be relocated to a regulated zone

A senator from the Philippines has urged the government to transfer all POGOs (Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators) to a defined zone to allow for better industry oversight.

According to the Manila Bulletin, Senator Ronald ''Bato'' dela Rosa, chairman of the Senate Public Order and Dangerous Drugs Committee, revealed his idea to reporters during a recent zoom interview, in which he also advocated for POGOs to be phased out gradually rather than abruptly.

According to Dela Rosa, operating POGOs in a regulated zone allows the government to "strictly supervise their operations and avoid the occurrence of crimes."

His remarks follow calls by another Senator and long-time foe of POGOs, Sherwin Gatchalian, for the industry to be shut down, claiming that the "POGO experiment" had failed to deliver the economic benefits promised and had instead "created new avenues for crime and corruption, damaging our country's reputation among diplomatic allies, foreign investors, potential tourists, and even our own countrymen."

PAGCOR, the gaming regulator, has subsequently confirmed that the POGO sector is here to stay, but has promised to improve oversight.

“The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) would like to reiterate its firm commitment to uphold the integrity of the gaming industry in the Philippines, including offshore gaming,” the agency said in a recent statement.

“PAGCOR reassures the public that to maintain the integrity of regulated gaming in the country, the state-run firm will not hesitate to impose appropriate sanctions or penalties to erring licensees or service providers. We will ensure that all revenues from regulated gaming will continue to support the government’s nation-building efforts and uplift the lives of Filipinos.”

According to the Manila Bulletin, dela Rosa would file a motion for plenary debate, resulting in a group decision on the "conflicting recommendations" of the two Senate committees on the future of POGOs.



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