Should POGOs be banned? Lorenzana says it needs thorough study
MANILA, Philippines — The security sector needs to conduct a thorough discussion before deciding if it will recommend banning Chinese-dominated online gambling operations or the Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO), Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday.
In a press briefing, the defense chief said they have to study if it would be worthy to give up the contributions of Pogo to the economy in exchange of other concerns like security.
“I’m going to discuss that with the cluster and maybe discuss it with the Pagcor (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.), with the economic cluster. The POGO operations are bringing us a substantial amount of money,” he said.
“Are we willing to lose those POGOs? Depende, we will explore and study some more before we can make the recommendation,” he added.
The Pagcor on Monday stopped accepting new applications for POGOs due to concerns on a few issues including security, taxes and influx of Chinese workers.
Lorenzana, who earlier raised concerns that Chinese workers could eventually shift its gambling operations to spying activities, said that the Pogos also present social concerns other than security.
“I’m not saying they are spying now. I’m just raising the alarm… Napakarami na nila masyado rito, libo-libo na yan e. And not only spying but some of the social problems that could prop up while they are there in the vicinity of the camps,” he said.
Over the weekend, Cambodia issued a ban to Chinese-dominated online gambling operations, citing threats to threats to social order.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Monday they would wait for the recommendation of the security sector if it would follow Cambodia’s footsteps.
“Kung anong rekomendasyon ng National Security Adviser, Secretary of National Defense, that will be considered by the President,” he said.
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