Solons back proposal to ban Pogos: Dangers outweigh benefits

Solons back proposal to ban Pogos: Risks, dangers outweigh benefits

/ 01:13 PM June 10, 2024

Solons back proposal to ban Pogos: Risks, dangers outweigh benefits

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MANILA, Philippines—At least two House of Representatives lawmakers have called for banning Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (Pogos), reiterating that the problems brought by these games have outweighed the benefits received by the country.

Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers and Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, in separate statements on Monday, urged the government to ban Pogos due to the several crimes linked to the games, and amid fears that Pogo sites may have a severe national security implication.

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READ: House panel OKs 2 measures on Pogo ban 

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“These Pogos that are banned in mainland China only brought more crimes and shame to our country. Whatever benefit we got from them is nothing compared to what they have put us in. The social costs keep mounting and no amount of taxes or perceived jobs can outweigh them,” Barbers said.

“The negative, evil and harmful effects of Pogos on society far outweigh the revenue they bring in,” Rodriguez added.

Rodriguez said there are proposed measures in the House right now that call for the ban on Pogos — House Resolution No. 1197, which he authored, and House Bill No. 5082, submitted by Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr.

Both proposals were approved by the House committee on games and amusements last February 2024.

According to Rodriguez, Congress must take advantage of the inquiries about Pogos, which have led to discussions about the games allegedly affecting national security.

“Let us take advantage of these inquiries in the Senate. If the House approves our proposal soon, it will have a big chance of winning support and approval in the Senate,” Rodriguez noted.

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READ: Recto on calls to ban Pogos: ‘No objection’ 

The Senate investigation on Pogos led to the discovery of suspended Bamban, Tarlac Mayor Alice Guo’s alleged links to the games in her municipality.

Last May 31, Guo was ordered preventively suspended pending an investigation after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) alleged that the local chief executive did not cancel or revoke the business permits issued to the Pogo because of her business interest in Baofu Land Development Inc.

The POGO in Bamban, under Zun Yuan Technology, whose franchise was revoked, was situated in the compound owned by Baofu. Guo claims to have divested ownership of Baofu, but DILG believes the amount she divested it for — P2.5 million—was “grossly incongruent to her investment in Baufo, which is approximately eight hectares of land.”

READ: Alice Guo ordered suspended as mayor of Bamban, Tarlac 

But Guo was also accused of being a spy after senators doubted if she was really a Filipino citizen.

According to Barbers, China and Chinese nationals with legitimate businesses are welcome into the Philippines, but not operations that have been banned by the country and are being “deliberately dumped” into the Philippines.

He also called on the Filipino-Chinese community to “prove their allegiance to the country” by speaking out on the issue—and not merely labeling critics of Pogos and China’s intrusion as Sinophobia.

“If they consider themselves Filipinos and are really and genuinely concerned about the country, they should speak out now. If they choose to keep their peace, then at least we know where they stand,” Barbers said.

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“Finally, I call on all patriotic Filipinos to join us in cleaning our country of these criminal syndicates involved in illegal drugs and Pogo and get our society back from these modern-day country snatchers,” he added.

TAGS: Robert Ace Barbers, Rufus Rodriguez

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