Pagcor must fund projects addressing social effects of gambling, says solon
MANILA, Philippines — Part of the revenue generated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) must be used for projects that address social problems and issues linked to gambling, according to Ako Bicol Rep. Elizaldy Co.
During his opening statement at the House Committee on Appropriations hearing on Monday, Co — the chairperson of the said panel — said that the government could allocate parts of Pagcor’s revenues to such projects.
Pagcor does not have a proposed budget as it is a revenue-generating government-owned and controlled corporation (GOCC), but usually, lawmakers at the start of deliberations for the succeeding year’s budget scrutinize Pagcor’s income allocations.
“The amount remitted as a share of the national government from its revenues has been a steady source of funds for essential public services, including education, healthcare, infrastructure development, and public safety, including the funding for the Universal Health Care (UHC) Act, under RA No. 11223. This steady influx of funds helps alleviate the burden on taxpayers and ensures a more balanced distribution of financial responsibilities,” Co said.
“However, we must balance the financial benefits of the gambling and gaming industry by addressing potential negative social consequences. The government should also allocate a portion of the revenue generated towards programs that address problems arising from gambling, promote responsible behavior, and offer support to individuals who may be adversely affected by gambling-related issues,” he added.
Co also said that the government needs to ensure that activities linked to gambling — criminal acts like money laundering, kidnapping, and others — are prevented.
“Furthermore, the compound effect of the economic activity produced by its operations creates a diverse range of employment opportunities in the industry reducing unemployment rates that fosters skill development and professional growth within the local workforce,” he said.
“It’s important to acknowledge that effective regulation is a cornerstone of maximizing the positive impact of gambling and gaming on government revenues. Governments must implement comprehensive regulatory frameworks that ensure fair play, responsible gambling, and the prevention of criminal activities like money laundering. This regulatory framework will safeguard public interests and foster a positive image for the industry, attracting responsible gamblers and investors,” he added.
Co’s committee is set to hear the financial plans of Pagcor and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) on Monday as deliberations for the proposed 2024 national budget continue.