Filtered By: Topstories

Will he back POGO ban? NEDA’s Balisacan says yes

National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan on Thursday said he would recommend to President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. the banning of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) in the country.

"Personally yes, if I'm asked," Balisacan told reporters when asked if he would recommend to Marcos the banning of POGOs in the country.

At a press briefing, Balisacan was also asked about the suggestion to permanently ban POGOs in the country. He said that this move would be an "appreciation of what the long term benefits are versus the cost."

"Our position at NEDA, which we have submitted some time ago... the cost especially, social cost are quite high. And we don’t think that the benefits in terms of the revenues generated and the additional... and the impact and the economy are worth the cost," he explained.

Instead of POGOs, Balisacan said legitimate investments are encouraged.

"I think that what we want to encourage are very... legitimate investments, good investments, quality investments and those investments that will produce goods and services and not ones that promote negative externalities to society such as those alleged crimes or and related issues," he stressed.

Balisacan said government officials have been going around many countries to attract investments as they want to market the country as a "good place to do business."

"We are not going around to attract business of this kind. We have investments inflows that will promote not only the economic but also the social aspects of our development," he said.

He also said other countries, such as Thailand and Indonesia, are not dependent on POGOs.

Senate recommendation

Earlier, the Senate committee on ways and means recommended the immediate expulsion of POGOs from the country in a bid to help maintain peace and order and sustain economic growth.

In Committee Report No. 136, the panel called for the adoption of a Senate resolution urging the Executive department to cease the operations of POGOs.

Ten lawmakers signed the report namely: Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Ronald “Bato" dela Rosa, JV Ejercito, Grace Poe, Risa Hontiveros, Pia Cayetano, Raffy Tulfo, Loren Legarda, Majority Leader Joel Villanueva, and Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III. 

According to the office of Gatchalian, chairperson of the Senate panel, 10  signatures already constitute the majority as the panel only has 18 members.

Gatchalian said the move was aimed at safeguarding the well-being of the Filipino people and maintaining a trajectory of growth and development in line with the administration’s economic reforms. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News