Senate PRIB/INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines — Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno on Thursday said he supports ending activities of the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogos) in the Philippines because of the social costs associated with the industry.
“If you ask my personal opinion on this, let’s discontinue the POGO because of the social cost,” said Diokno.
Diokno spoke during the Senate Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) briefing on the National Expenditure Program for 2023.
He explained that the total revenues in the industry had fallen to P3.9 billion in 2021, significantly lower than the year before, which was at P7.2 billion.
The finance head also noted that Pogo has “reputational risk,” especially since other countries like China and Cambodia have already discontinued it.
“It has a reputational risk, because why are they going to the Philippines? Discontinue na sa China, discontinue ng Cambodia. Why are they going to the Philippines?” said Diokno.
“Maybe because we are loose, we’re not strict on our rules, so meron tayong (we have) reputational risk,” he added.
Senator Grace Poe questioned the social cost of Pogos during a separate Committee hearing, explaining that the current revenue it generates does not justify its operations in the country.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) also said that the majority of the kidnapping cases in 2022, 15 out of 29, are POGO-related.
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