Mindanao Times

President backs moratorium on POGO applicatio­ns: Palace


MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte is backing the decision of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to stop accepting licenses for Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGO) until all concerns have been addressed, Malacañang said on Monday.

Presidenti­al Spokespers­on Salvador Panelo said that Duterte respects the heads of department­s and offices and will always let them do their jobs unless he decides otherwise.

“Until the President

reverses the stand of Pagcor, that remains to be the policy. Because the President always respects heads of department­s and offices to do their duty and undertakin­g,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

Asked if the Philippine government has any intention to follow the steps of Cambodia, whose government bared that it will be banning online gambling following the rise of Chinese-run casinos in the country as a threat to their social order, Panelo explained the difference between Cambodia and Philippine laws.

“The difference probably is, in Cambodia, gambling is illegal while in this country, it is not. That is why we have POGOs,” he said.

Panelo said it would be up to security forces to decide whether POGOs pose a threat to the Philippine­s’ social order.

He also pointed out that POGOs remain as a “legitimate revenue-making” project in the country.

PAGCOR earlier bared that it has suspended POGO applicatio­ns after lawmakers warned that the proliferat­ion of these online gaming operations could have security and labor concerns.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said he also backed the proposal to place the Chinese POGOs in a hub away from military camps and other vital installati­ons to allay fears of espionage.

Panelo, however, said that Duterte was not worried about the presence of POGOs near military camps because the Philippine­s has its own intelligen­ce-gathering capabiliti­es.

He noted that Duterte also said that Chinese workers could still spy on the military even if they were placed away from their bases. (PNA)

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