Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon slammed Thursday the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) for its 'stupid' position of allowing continued operation of the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) despite the problems that came with it.
Drilon made the comment during the Senate probe on supposed over $600 million worth of dirty money brought in the country from September 2019 to March 2020.
He said the country is now facing prostitution, increase in crime incidents, illegal workers, and amount of dirty money amid the thriving POGO business.
“I am disappointed with the position of Pagcor that they are in favor of [continued] POGO [operation] in our shores because of the income we earn. That position is short sighted. The social problems that POGO has brought to our country is not worth the regulation fees you get from Pagcor. Let me tell that to your face,” Drilon said.
“You saw what happened to Multinational Village [where residential areas experience power outages due to influx of POGO operations and a firing range is set up inside a village]…the prostitution dens, all related to POGO. That statement, I must say, is a stupid statement that indicates the mindset we have: basta may pera na pumasok, we tolerate all these things,” Drilon added.
He was referring to a video sent to the office of Senator Richard Gordon and played at the start of the Senate hearing detailing the sentiments of residents of a village in Parañaque City.
At this point, Drilon quizzed the Anti Money Laundering Council on how much POGO contributes to the Philippine economy.
AMLC Secretariat Executive Director Mel Georgie Racela responded that the net inflow from POGO is only at P7 billion which is only .29 percent of the P18.6 trillion worth of Philippine economy.
Drilon then concluded, “that is only one third of one percent. That is not worth it.”
Lawyer Dave Sevilla of Pagcor’s Anti-Money Laundering Supervision and Enforcement Department, however, did not stop short of agreeing with Drilon’s conclusion.
“We are reassessing the issue and we are trying to cure the negative effects [of POGOs],” Sevilla said.
To which Drilon responded, "Good luck."—AOL, GMA News