Drilon asks Pagcor why PH can’t shutdown Pogo: Are we a province of China?
MANILA, Philippines — If Cambodia managed to shut down overseas online gaming there upon the request of the Chinese government, why can’t we stop the operations of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogos) here?
This was the question posed by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday as he stressed his stand for Pogo operations to stop in the country.
During the Senate blue ribbon committee’s hearing on the alleged money laundering, crimes, and other suspicious activities associated with Pogos, Drilon asked the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to confirm that overseas gaming operations was stopped in Cambodia following the Chinese government’s protest.
Drilon said the Chinese government protested because online gaming is illegal in China.
Victor Padilla, senior manager of the agency’s licensing department, confirmed Drilon’s statement.
“They were stopped upon the request of China because they are illegal in China so the question is why did we accept all of them when it was in fact stopped in Cambodia and because it was illegal in China?” Drilon asked.
Padilla said that according to Pagcor’s regulatory manual, operators are not allowed to cater to countries where online gaming is illegal.
However, “not all players are coming from China,” Padilla said.
“If it was reported to us that a player is coming from China and China says that we should close down, we will close down the company if there are reports,” Padilla said.
The Pagcor official’s remark earned a laugh from Drilon who asked why is there a need for an advisory from China first.
“Are we a province of China? That when China says pwede, pwede? Kung walang sinasabing bawal, pwede [when no one says it is illegal, it can still operate]?” Drilon said.
“Why do you have to wait for the advise of China? Why can we not do it on our own?” the minority leader added.
Senator Richard Gordon stepped in and said that Drilon’s inquiry is legitimate.
Drilon further said: “The ban in Cambodia, from available information, is that because the Chinese government objected to it. Yet we are here, we are acting like a province of China supposedly. So dapat naman ay kung bawal sa Tsina, eh di bawal din dito [If it is illegal in China, it means it is also illegal here].”
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier said hat President Rodrigo Duterte might consider suspending operations of Pogo should irregularities further escalate.
Among the issues linked to Pogos include the rise in crimes such as kidnapping and illegal prostitution.
Edited by JPV
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