Go: Consider workers to be affected by possible POGO phaseout

By Wilnard Bacelonia

March 28, 2023, 8:26 pm

<p><em>(File image) </em></p>

(File image) 

MANILA – The national government should have a plan for Filipino workers if it decides to totally ban Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO), a lawmaker said on Tuesday.

Senator Christopher Go said the executive department, which has the "last say" on the issue, should also thoroughly study it before making a decision.

"Kung sakali man po i-decide na i-ban na ito sa future, dapat po ay tingnan natin ng mabuti kung paano po mabigyan ng trabaho yung mga magiging displaced workers (If ever we decide to ban this in the future, we should also look at how we can give jobs to workers who will be displaced)," Go told reporters during his visit to fire victims in Binondo, Manila.

"Bigyan natin sila ng sapat na panahon na kung paano sila magkaroon ng hanapbuhay dahil ayaw nating magutom ang mga Filipino worker (Let's give them enough time to look for another job because we don't want Filipino workers to get hungry)," he added.

Go made the statement amid the push of Senator Sherwin Gatchalian for a total POGO ban as the risks outweigh the benefits.

Gatchalian, who chairs the Committee of Ways and Means, said he will submit a proposed resolution which will urge the executive department to immediately ban all POGO operations.

He said the resolution will recommend that the Department of Labor and Employment assist affected Filipino POGO workers in finding alternative jobs; the Bureau of Internal Revenue collect the outstanding tax liabilities of POGO licensees, service providers, and third-party auditor; the cancellation of working visas and Alien Employment Permits issued to foreign POGO workers to facilitate their deportation.

On Tuesday, Gatchalian urged local government units (LGUs) where POGOs operate to make a stand on its proposed phaseout.

"Once a crime happens in your jurisdiction, it's the mayor's responsibility and the local chief of police's responsibility. So, it becomes a local issue and it becomes the problem of the community," he said, citing Pasig City as the first LGU to pass an ordinance banning POGO. (PNA)