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POGOs now PHL’s top demand driver for office space —property consultant

The Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) industry has overtaken the information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) sector in terms of demand for office space as of September, data released by real estate services firm Leechiu Property Consultants (LPC) on Monday showed.

There is demand for more than 1 million square meters of office space so far this year, LPC chief executive officer David Leechiu said in a press conference in Makati City.

POGOs account for 34% of the demand equivalent to 386,000 sqm, while 31% or 355,000 square meters came from the IT-BPM and 35% or 398,000 sqm from other sectors.

“The POGO industry came out as the country’s top demand driver for office space ... For the first time, it has overtaken the IT-BPM industry,” LPC noted.

The trend was similar in Metro Manila where POGOs accounted for 375,000 square meters or 38% of the total demand. The IT-BPM registered a demand for 30% or 294,000 sqm, while other sectors accounted for a cumulative 32% or 320,000 square meters.

Last August, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) stopped accepting applications for offshore gaming licenses until all concerns have been addressed.

Several lawmakers wanted an inquiry into in impact of POGOs on the local economy, national security, and the public amid issues regarding revenue monitoring and the entry of foreigners who they said work for offshore gaming operations without valid work permits.

PAGCOR also proposed to transfer Chinese online gambling workers to self-contained communities or hubs, prompting apprehension from the Chinese Embassy that the move may infringe on Chinese citizens’ rights.

Moving forward, Leechiu said the demand of the POGO industry is expected to increase further throughout the rest of the year.

“They (POGOs) will hit 420,000, 450,000 square meters this year ... If we’re very lucky then POGOs will exceed the historical high of BPOs—485,000 square meters back in 2016,” he told reporters.

“If we’re super-duper duper lucky, then we will get the BPO sector close to 450,000 this year,” added Leechiu.

The BPO sector earlier this month warned that the growth of the industry could be halved, should lawmakers pass phase two of the comprehensive tax reform program in its current form.

Among the IT-BPM sector’s apprehensions is the removal of fiscal incentives currently being enjoyed by most of business. —VDS, GMA News