Three major businesses in the Philippines called for the shutdown of offshore gaming operators in the country known as POGOs. In a joint statement, the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF), Makati Business Club (MBC), and the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) showed support for the government’s decision to put an end to the POGO industry in the country.
The prominent business group expressed approval of the Department of Finance’s (DOF) decision to phase out POGOs, with the three businesses urging legislators as well as the Executive Department to take the required measure to act on the decision accordingly.
Despite Great Economic Benefits POGO Industry Still Has Not Meet Revenue Expectations
One of the reasons why the phase-out of POGO operations was supported by the major local businesses was the cost of sponsoring operations, which are generally disapproved by many. Despite the economic gain, POGO’s bad reputation cannot be ignored, with poor mandates and corruption scandals proving that such operations cannot be regulated properly.
In their statement, the three companies highlighted the taxation and monitoring mishaps with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) as an example of the incompetent regulation of POGO operations.
So far, the tax revenue collected from POGO operations surpasses any expectations, reaching Php4.44 billion (US$76 million) for the period between January and August this year. This marks a significant increase when compared to the figures of Php3.91 billion (US$67 million), which were generated through the entire 2021. That said, the profit is still far behind the promised Php32.1 billion (US$547 million), which was the prediction when the POGO bill was passed as a law by President Duterte in the fall of 2021.
The group’s statement did not miss to point out the industry’s 50% drop, reaching a decline of 70% due to the global pandemic restrictions, which have been constantly imposed, lifted, and applied again for almost three years now. That suggested that this is the most suitable time to put an end to the POGO sector in the Philippines as it will not cause bigger losses to the country.
POGOs Appealed to Government to Reconsider Push Down, Warning About Huge Potential Losses
The global businesses noted that the complete ban on POGOs will inflict a temporary economic hit, which is preferable compared to the heavier consequences of further postponing the phase-out of such operations.
China has also shown its disapproval of POGOs, as the Chinese government noted that such operations harm both the country’s interest and the relations between China and the Philippines. That said, not everyone is supporting the ban on POGOs in the country.
Earlier this month, the Association of Service Providers and POGOs in the Philippines (ASPAP) appealed to the local government to rethink the complete ban on such operations in the country. According to the association, taking such drastic measures will cause the unemployment of more than 23,000 Filipino workers in this field. In addition to that, the complete shutdown of the POGO industry could inflict a huge hit of more than Php100 billion on the Philippines’ economy.