De Lima wants probe if Philippine laws implemented against POGOs

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Senator Leila filed a resolution calling the Senate to investigate how and if the government implements laws against Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) in the country.

De Lima filed Wednesday Senate Resolution No. 440, seeking an investigation of the issues regarding POGOs involvement in different activities that violated the Philippine laws.

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The still detained Senator said the increase in activities during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis “merits a clear and unequivocal action from the government, including Congress.”

“There is a need to determine the resolve in which our law enforcement sector to implement our laws against POGOs,” she said.

“The Philippine National Police, the Department of Justice, and the Bureau of Immigration should report on the cases involving Pogos and how said cases are being dealt with in order to determine if our government is meeting the challenges posed by the POGOs against our rule of law,” she added.

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De Lima said that the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) and Department of Finance (DOF) should justify why POGOs should continue operation “in spite of their well-documented, repeated and continuous offenses against Philippine laws.”

POGOs are among the first businesses the government allowed to resume after enhanced community quarantine, saying it would help in generating COVID-19 funds.

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The Bureau of Internal Revenue, however, said that POGOs with unpaid taxes would not be allowed to operate.

Authorities also raided several POGO sites that are allegedly conducting illegal operations.

“The current administration’s kid-glove approach against POGO-related criminality has emboldened these POGOs to continue their activities unimpeded within the Philippines, with little to no regard for our laws nor our standards for public health and safety,” she said.

“Congress should now step up and re-evaluate our country’s policies concerning the regulation of Pogos and determine whether or not they should be permitted to legally operate in our country once and for all,” De Lima added.

Yesterday, Senator Risa Hontiveros questioned the administration as to how much of the unpaid taxes of POGOs have been collected by the government.

According to the Senator, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) itself admitted in May that none of the registered POGOs had settled their unpaid taxes.

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