Anti-POGO bill filed in House
MANILA, Philippines — In the heat of the issue of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) in the country, several lawmakers filed a bill seeking to declare them illegal.
The still unnumbered “Anti-POGO Act of 2020” filed on Wednesday proposes that the operation of POGOs in the country be banned and declared illegal.
“It is therefore declared by the State that ‘Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations’ conducted within the Philippines have increasingly become a social menace and a source of unimaginable corruption,” the bill states.
“It has made a mockery of our anti-money laundering, immigration, and tax laws. It has been a source of untold criminal offences and heinous crimes related to the conduct of such operations. But most of ask, it has displaced hard-working Filipino people in favor of foreign workers,” it added.
Among the acts prohibited under the bill are facilitation of any offshore gaming thru any means or device within Philippine territory, acceptance of any form of betting for purpose of offshore gaming operations, acting as a service provider for offshore gaming operations in the Philippines, creation of a POGO hub in the country, and the establishment of a gaming laboratory or providing services as a gaming laboratory.
Also prohibited are the possession of gaming paraphernalia and aiding in the conduct of any of the mentioned prohibited acts.
The bill also considers the licenses of any foreign-based operators, local gaming agents, POGOs, and service providers for the purpose of offshore gaming operations as withdrawn or revoked upon the approval of the bill.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) would also be prohibited from issuing any work permit to any person for the purposes of offshore gaming operations.
“The Bureau of Immigration is likewise prohibited from issuing any visa or Alien Employment Permit for offshore gaming operations in the Philippines,” the bill states.
“This prohibition to issue any visa or work permit is likewise provided to any agency of the government tasked by law to issue visa or work permit,” it added
The bill also tasks the Inter-Agency Task Force-Pogos, chaired by the Justice Secretary with the Interior Secretary as the vice chairperson, to implement the measure.
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