Ejercito to withdraw support for Pogo ban if phaseout is ‘abrupt’
MANILA, Philippines — Senate Deputy Majority Leader JV Ejercito said he is ready to withdraw his support for the proposed phaseout of offshore gaming operations in the Philippines if it is done abruptly.
Ejercito was among the 10 senators who signed a 120-page report of the Senate committee on ways and means that recommends a three-month phaseout of Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos).
Although he signed the report, he said, he made it clear to the panel chairman, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, that he is “not in favor of abruptly ending Pogos in three months.”
It would not look good, he said, if the government would take back its decision to legalize the operations of offshore gaming in the Philippines.
“Yung concern ko yung policy natin. Yung consistency,” he said.
“Ginawa nyong legal, ngayon babawiin so hindi magandang tingnan specially in the international community now that the administration is trying to invite investors. Yung lang, yung inconsistency,” the senator pointed out.
Ejercito also believes that legitimate Pogos and their employees should be given enough time first —probably two to three years— to find alternative businesses and employment before stopping their operations.
The panel report clearly states, however, that the phaseout should start “within three months” from the approval of the report.
So when asked if he would withdraw his support if the phase out would be abrupt, Ejercito repeatedly answered yes.
“Yes, yes,” Ejercito said, “Actually, nag-isip nga kami kasi ang usapan namin ni Senator Senator Gatchalian, kung gagawin nyang two to three years, pipirma ako. Kaya lang recently, nakumbinsi kami nila na para madala sa floor.”
Ejercito said he only signed the panel report to elevate the discussion on the proposed phase out of Pogos to the Senate floor.
“I’m not in favor of Pogo, let me be clear. Hindi rin ako pabor sa Pogo but I’m in favor of a phaseout period,” he stressed.
Those who also signed the report aside from Gatchalian and Ejercito are Senate President Pro-Tempore Loren Legarda, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III, and Sens. Ronald dela Rosa, Grace Poe, Raffy Tulfo, Risa Hontiveros, and Pia Cayetano.