With the recent controversies surrounding Philippine Offshore Gambling Operators (POGOs), several have proposed that rounding up all the operators and forcing them into hubs might be the best way to manage the situation. One think tank leader has come up with a very good reason for why that’s not a good plan.
Terry Ridon, Infrawatch PH think tank member and former member of the House Information and communications technology (ICT) committee, feels it’s better to keep gambling operations close and in the open, rather than in hubs where they might become something worse, the Manila Standard reports. He pointed to other recent controversies to help prove his point:
“This week’s string of raids on fraudulent Chinese crypto firms and human trafficking rackets should give PAGCOR pause in implementing its proposal to establish POGO hubs in different parts of the country. In the face of porous bureaucratic enforcement and the level of investment pouring into POGOs, it will not be surprising to find these hubs similar to the petty and high-level rackets seen in the Bureau of Corrections.(BuCor)”
When not covering POGOs, the recent top stories in the Philippines include drug trade and gambling taking place in the prison system, with the Bureau of Corrections totally oblivious to it. Ridon’s point, that keeping POGOs where they can be supervised by the public, is a fairly astute one taken in that context.
Instead, Ridon’s preference is to keep the situation exactly as it stands now, with a few key regions of the Philippines serving as the hot spots of POGO development, keeping money flowing in while the entire population can keep a watchful eye on the situation.
This serves as an interesting counter-point to other proposed paths for the future of POGOs. Fearing that they could pose as launching points for spies, some have suggested they should be relocated to hubs far away from government agencies. Another mayor suggested that an abandoned resort island might be the perfect place to build a segregated POGO hub destination, with all of the needs of foreign employees taken care of.