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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

“Whole-of-government” approach needed to resolve issues on POGO – DOJ

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday called for a “whole-of-government” approach to resolve all issues pertaining to Philippine Offshore and Gaming Operations (POGO) in the country.   

Justice Undersecretary Raul Vasquez made the statement amid varying positions of government officials, lawmakers and other stakeholders on the proposal to permanently ban POGOs.   

A bill has already been filed by lawmakers in the House of Representatives seeking to revoke licenses and ban POGO in the country.   

A few senators have also appealed to President Marcos to declare POGOs as threats to national security, considering their involvement in various criminal activities in the country.   

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro, on the other hand, said POGO’s illegal operation in the country has become a national security concern.  

 “This is high time now to check whether or not the advantages outweigh the serious and grave social cost and public safety consequences of the POGO industry,” Vasquez said.

According to the DOJ official, the government should consider the social cost, public safety, and national security before coming out with a decision on whether to totally ban POGOs in the country.  

“A whole-of-government approach is the most effective way of handling the POGO industry. Not only the sole concern of the LGU (local government unit), the PSA (Philippine Statistics Authority), or the DOJ or PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) itself, everybody is on board currently,” he stressed.  

Nonetheless, Vasquez reminded foreigners engaged in POGOs that their stay in the country is merely a ‘privilege’ and they are expected at all times to strictly follow the laws of the Philippines.                      

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