Pogo revenues ‘come at significant social costs’ — DOF

The revenues of the Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos) “come at significant social costs,” an official from the Department of Finance said on Monday.

WEIGHING THE IMPACT OF THE PH POGO INDUSTRY: Sen. Win Gatchalian, the chairperson of the Committee on Ways and Means, leads the hybrid hearing on the three Senate resolutions seeking to probe the economic impact of the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) industry in the country, Monday, October 3, 2022. Senate PRIB / Albert Calvelo

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos) have substantial negative social repercussions that much outweigh the money streams they bring into the Philippines’ economy, an official from the Department of Finance said on Monday.

“The position of the Department of Finance is that while Pogo revenues contribute to the government coffers, these come at significant social costs to us,” Finance Assistant Secretary Valery Joy Brion reported during the Senate committee on ways and means hearing, presided over by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian.

“We’ve seen some studies and Pogo operations, there are links to some illegal activities such as prostitution, employment of minors, and violation of labor laws,” she added.

According to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Pogo tax collections reached P4 billion so far this year. For 2022, the projected tax collection from Pogo is P32 billion.

“Currently, the total collections right now for 2022 is P4.483 billion, nag-increase pa po ng kaunti (it slightly increased),” BIR Director Sixto Dy said in the same hearing.

Senators sought to investigate Pogos’ benefits and social costs amid the alleged rise of abduction incidents related to the industry.