A ranking member of the Senate majority on Thursday stressed that “abruptly” banning Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) as recommended by a Senate Ways and Means committee report would send the wrong message to investors keen on doing business in the Philippines.
This, explained Senate Deputy Majority Leader Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, is why he did not sign the committee report that was produced after four Senate hearings led by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate ways and means panel.
To date, only seven senators have signed the committee report.
Ejercito emphasized that he is in favor of “a two- to three-year phaseout period so as not to affect international business perception.”
The senator pointed out “POGO was illegal. Congress passed a law to make it legal. Then investors came and invested for the industry.”
“Then we want to cancel abruptly? That would send a bad signal and image to the international community of the consistency of laws and policies,” he said.
Ejercity clarified that he was not “pro-POGO,” but he was concerned about the “repercussions of canceling the industry which Congress also made legal.”
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) recently reported that the net inflows of foreign direct investments (FDI) into the Philippines dropped by 23% as these shrank from US$12 billion in 2021 to US$9.2 billion in 2022.
In December 2022 alone, net inflows fell by 76%, from US$2.7 billion US dollars in December 2021 to US$634 million in the same period last year.