ILLEGAL POGO OPERATION. More than 40 foreign nationals reportedly forced to work at an illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) company along Fil-Am Friendship Highway, Angeles City, Pampanga were rescued Saturday (Sept. 17, 2022). A Pulse Asia survey cited by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has shown that majority of Filipinos believe that the presence of POGOs in the Philippines is harmful to the country. (Photo courtesy of Police Regional Office 3)

MANILA – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday said the public’s sentiment on the operation of the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) in the Philippines will be one of the important factors that lawmakers will consider in drafting a committee report on the economic and social impact of POGOs in the country.

The chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means made the statement as he cited the results of a Pulse Asia survey showing that majority of Filipinos believe that POGOs are harmful to the country.

"The survey results are an important piece of data that we will take into consideration as the data represents the sentiments of our people and provides relevant insights on the issue at hand," Gatchalian said.

According to the lawmaker from Valenzuela City, the Pulse Asia survey conducted from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 last year showed that 58 percent of the respondents said they think the operation of POGOs in the country is harmful.

The over-all sentiment is reflected across location and class.

In terms of location, 61 percent of respondents in the National Capital Region, 55 percent in Luzon, 53 percent in Visayas, and 67 percent in Mindanao believe POGO operations in the country are harmful.

In terms of social class, the same sentiment is felt by 70 percent of respondents in the ABC class, 58 percent in the D class, and 44 percent in the E class.

Respondents who said they believe the POGO industry is injurious to the country cited various reasons for their response: proliferation of vices, with a total of 67 percent citing this as the main reason; increase in POGO-related crime incidents involving Chinese nationals with 57 percent; tax evasion of POGOs, 43 percent; increasing number of Chinese nationals employed by POGOs, also with 43 percent; no additional opportunities given to Filipinos, with 33 percent; and increasing cost of rent, residential, or business properties with 22 percent.

Only 19 percent of respondents said POGOs are beneficial.

Worth noting is that only 12 percent of respondents in the NCR, where a significant number of POGOs operate, said the industry is beneficial to the country, while 20 percent of respondents in Luzon, 26 percent in the Visayas, and 17 percent in Mindanao also share the same view.

In terms of class, the 19 percent of total respondents who said POGOs are beneficial is broken down into 10 percent in the ABC class, 20 percent in the D class and 27 percent in the E class.

“Majority of Filipinos believe that the presence of POGOs in the Philippines is harmful to the country,” Gatchalian noted.

The Senate Committee on Ways and Means is currently working on the completion of a committee report in relation to an inquiry on the economic benefits and social costs of allowing POGO operations in the country. (PNA)