Philippine Senator Leila de Lima has joined a group of senators in opposition of Philippine Offshore Gambling Operator’s (POGO). She is calling for a senate probe, having filed a Resolution 440 to see the investigation take place. The senator is claiming a rise in activities by POGO during the pandemic is the reason behind the investigation.
Most POGOs with licensing are operating based on local law. However, De Lima would like to see the Philippines Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) explain why POGOs are allowed to operate despite being in violation of Philippine laws. PAGCOR is the regulator of gaming in the country.
The senator wants to question authorities and find out why the industry is not being monitored correctly. She believes that the Bureau of Immigration, the National Police and the Department of Justice should report cases that involve POGOs and provide information on how the cases are being dealt with to determine if the government is meeting the challenges the operations pose based on the law.
When May began, PAGCOR allow for POGO operations to resume partially. Metro Manilla stayed under the quarantine protocols. To reopen, POGOs had to meet health requirements set by officials and prove that taxes had been paid.
By the first of June, many agencies in the Philippines had noted that none of the POGOs in operation had met the health requirements. Licensed POGOs are still closed and local police have been busy raiding unlicensed sites. There are still stories of kidnappings taking place in the region and police are trying to get a handle on such activities.
De Lima feels that the current administration is taking a ‘kid-glove approach’ against criminal activity of POGOs and this has gave POGOs confidence that they can continue to act illegally without punishment. The senator is calling for Congress to step up and re-evaluate the polices in the country regarding POGO regulation and if they should be legally allowed to operate in the country.