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Thursday, June 13, 2024

House bill seeks to ban POGOs, revoke all licenses

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House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro on Tuesday led the filing of a bill seeking to prohibit and criminalize the operations of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) in the country.

The proposed “Anti-POGO Act” declares it the policy of the State to ban POGOs that have “increasingly become a social menace and a source of unimaginable corruption.”

“POGOs have brought with them a swarm of crimes as testified by countless police raids — rape, murder, illegal recruitment, human trafficking, prostitution, illegal detention, inhumane labor practices, money laundering, and immigration bribery, among many others,” Castro said.

“Their supposed economic benefits have also been negligible compared to the social costs they have inflicted on our people and communities. It is high time we put a stop to this social menace,” she added.

The bill is similar to the earlier measure filed by Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.  

Meanwhile, Castro’s bill revokes all licenses granted to POGOs, makes POGO operations a predicate crime to money laundering and human trafficking offenses, and imposes penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment and P10 million in fines.

It also prohibits agencies from issuing work permits and visas for purposes of offshore gaming, requiring an annual compliance report from responsible agencies.


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