Bill banning Pogos filed in House
Thirty-one lawmakers crossed party lines on Wednesday to file a bill that seeks to ban Philippine online gaming operators (Pogos) in the country, described in the proposed measure as a “social menace.”
House Bill No. 6701, filed by House Minority Leader and Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. and supported by 30 other lawmakers from the majority and the minority blocs, seeks to outlaw “online games of chance or sporting events” that use the internet, a network and software that are exclusive to offshore players but are held within Philippine territory.
“Gambling is an evil which undermines the social and economic growth of a nation, a social menace which dissipates the energy and resources of the people,” the bill said in its explanatory note.
“It cannot be justified by the amount of revenue that may be derived therefrom, for such revenue no matter how big it may be, would be totally wiped out by the irreparable harm that results to individuals, families and society in general,” the bill added.
HB 6701 was filed just five days after the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed the resumption of Pogo operations amid the prevailing lockdown in most parts of Luzon due to the threat of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The task force said the estimated P500 million from Pogo activities could be used to fund the government’s COVID-19 response.
But detractors point out the rise in crimes associated with Pogos as well as its unpaid taxes and fees amounting to some P50 billion.
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