Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators
LATEST UPDATE: November 18, 2019 - 12:25pm
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November 18, 2019

After the Office of the Solicitor General said the P200-billion industry of POGOs are not subject to Philippine taxes, the House ways and means committee approves a bill imposing 5% franchise tax on the gaming operations mainly run by Chinese workers.

The House bill also proposes a 25% withholding tax on POGO workers earning at least P600,000 annually, reports The STAR's Edu Punay.


November 15, 2019

The National Bureau of Investigation arrests a Chinese POGO operator and two Chinese nationals in a sting for renting four hotel rooms in Pasay to prostitute Chinese women.

Their syndicate caters exclusively to Chinese POGO operators, reports The STAR's Marc Jayson Cayabyab.

State investigators say the proliferation of Chinese prostitution rings coincided with the boom of POGOs in the country.

POGO operators
September 16, 2019

Labor alliance Trade Union Congress of the Philippines is urging government to create a coordinating body for the offshore gaming sector as it expressed concern over more Chinese workers coming to the country after Cambodia banned gaming operations and launched a crackdown on online casinos.

TUCP says it is anticipating the migration of these displaced operators and thousands of Chinese workers into the Philippines. 

"While we are assessing the POGO overall social implications and weigh the comprehensive benefits of this online gambling industry in our economy by putting on hold issuance of new operating licenses,  (we) would like to propose the creation of a POGO coordinating body that has supervision and control of the industry for the benefit of the country," TUCP president Raymond Mendoza says.

TUCP says it is conducting a study and assessment of the overall impact and trends in POGO industry particularly its economic and social implications in the community including the employment, living and working conditions of Chinese POGO workers in the country — The STAR/Artemio Dumlao

August 28, 2019

Sen. Francis Panglinan says China's call to prohibit online gambling—gambling is illegal in China while POGOs are said to employ at least 130,000 Chinese nationals and cater to Chinese players—in the Philippines is a good suggestion.

"China is correct here. Cancel the POGO licenses on concerns of criminality and corruption. Gambling is illegal in China. This means that Chinese criminals run the POGOs here in the Philippines," Pangilinan says in a press statement.

"It is the Philippine government that is condoning the operations of criminal syndicates," he says. 

Online gaming in the Philippines is licensed by the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corp. but the Chinese Embassy has said that "according to the Chinese laws and regulations, any form of gambling by Chinese citizens, including online-gambling, gambling overseas, opening casinos overseas to attract citizens of China as primary customers, is illegal." 

August 22, 2019

Detained Sen. Leila de Lima asks the Duterte administration to heed the warning of the Department of National Defense regarding the proximity of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators hubs to military camps. 

"The government should seriously consider the DND's warning about the POGO's location to our main military installations. I think there's a lot more to it than meets the eye," says De Lima in a news release.

“It’s better to err on the side of caution. It’s even beyond caution, a cause for serious concern. We cannot set aside the possibility that these POGO hubs could be used for illegal activities that could compromise the safety and sovereignty of our country,” she adds. 

August 19, 2019

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon shares Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana's concern at the increasing number of Chinese working in Philippine Online Gaming Operators, which they say are near military camps.

"The security aspect is something that we cannot just brush aside. I cannot understand why we cannot have POGO locations farther away from military camps," Drilon says in a CNN Philippines interview.

"Secretary Lorenzana is a competent official and his job is to advise us on matter of security. He has nothing but good interntions. We should defer to him,: he also says.

The Palace earlier Monday says that, according to the president, foreign spies can gather information even if they are not near military installations.

President Rodrigo Duterte is also confident that the government can keep an eye on foreign nationals.

"The president is not worried because we have the intelligence capabulity to know what they are doing," presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo says.

August 14, 2019

Sen. Win Gatchalian has filed a resolution for hearings to look into uncollected taxes from foreign workers, including those in the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) industry.

"There is a need to review our capability and enhance our capacity to enforce our tax, immigration, and labor laws to balance the protection we need to accord our people vis-a-vis to the contribution of industries and foreign workers to the country's economic growth," Gatchalian says in a press statement.

He says in the same release that "the significant influx of Chinese POGO workers and the approximately 130,000 individuals not paying taxes to the Philippine government have 'clearly raised red flags on the implementation of our tax, immigration and labor laws.'"

August 9, 2019

The Phililippine Amusements and Gaming Corp. is "totally missing the point" in its plan to restrict Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations to "hubs" partly over complaints of rude behavior by visiting nationals, Sen. Win Gatchalian says.

"What we want is for POGO operators and their employees to pay the correct taxes and not devour local jobs that are exclusively for our countrymen," he says in a statement.

"The government may be losing an estimated P32 billion in uncollected income taxes a year from some 138,000 foreign workers in POGOs, according to the Department of Finance. Isolating these firms and workers into hubs will not bring additional revenue for the government, nor will it solve the issue of foreigners encroaching on jobs meant for Filipino citizens," he also says.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has tweeted support for the plan, saying the jobs that Chinese nationals are hired for require knowledge of Chinese languages, which few Filipinos can speak.

The Chinese Embassy notes with "grave concern" a government plan to move Chinese Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) to centralized hubs in Clark, Pampanga and in Kawit, Cavite.

The embassy says in a statement that the move "may infringe on the basic legal rights of the Chinese citizens concerned." The embassy said it "strongly urges the Philippine government to effectively protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens in the Philippines."

It adds "according to the Chinese laws and regulations, any form of gambling by Chinese citizens, including online-gambling,  gambling overseas, opening casinos overseas to attract citizens of China as primary customers, is illegal."   

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