Philippines Congress proposes POGO investigation

Philippines Congress proposes POGO investigation

A mountain of worry news about the Philippine Offshore Gambling Operators (POGOs) was eventually bound to have some consequences, and it looks like they are coming soon. The House of Representatives may begin investigating a series of their concerns with the online gambling industry in the Philippines.

Philippines Congress proposes POGO investigationThe Business Mirror reports four representatives have proposed House Resolution 337, which would ask the Congress to investigate the POGO industries use of unregistered foreign workers, nonpayment of taxes, and lack of compliance with immigration and labor laws. The authors of the resolution are Minority Leader Bienvenido “Benny” Abante Jr., Deputy Speaker Rep. Eduardo Villanueva, Muntinlupa Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon and Manila Rep. Manuel Luis Lopez.

The representatives stated they hope an investigation will reveal how current laws could be amended to better regulate the explosive growth of POGOs. “The inquiry was long overdue given the numerous issues that have surfaced regarding the POGO industry,” Abante said.

In an embarrassing admission, Abante noted that it appears the country is totally lost on the matter, currently. “The fact that we cannot even accurately account for these workers is troubling. If we have problems with regard to their documentation, then we will definitely have issues properly determining revenue collection,” he said.

The lawmakers are hoping to address concerns that the government may not be getting its fair share in taxes, but that POGOs may also pose a security threat. They’ve bought in to the idea that foreign employees may double as spies. “What kind of possible threats do these POGO hubs near our defense installations represent? These and other concerns are what we want to address in an inquiry,” said Abante.

Despite all of the recent fears about the POGO industry, President Rodrigo Duterte recently gave his permission for the sector to continue on. He did so against the wishes of China, who would rather that operators targeting Mainland China be squashed, but also against the rising public sentiment against the foreign workers the industry attracts. A public congressional hearing might be too much pressure for Duterte to hold on, despite his view that it helps the people and the economy of the country.