MANILA -- A one-year transition period would be enough for all Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) to complete their tasks in the country, pack up and leave.
Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva pointed this out Wednesday, as he reiterated his support for the penned committee report of Senator Sherwin Gatchalian which centers on the latter’s recommendation to ban POGOs.
A chairman's penned committee report needs at least 10 signatures before it passes the ways and means panel, and be forwarded to the plenary for deliberation, debate and eventual voting.
Still, Villanueva acknowledged the concern of some senators and the needed consideration to POGO companies that follow the country’s laws to the letter.
“Ang concern nung ilang senador, and I can understand where they’re coming from. Yung mga nagbayad, yung mga legal na nagbayad ng buwis for so long, biglang sasabihin mo sa kanila, teka lang pagkatapos namin kayong buwisan, isasara na namin kayo. That’s why I am also for transition period,” Villanueva explained.
“For me okay kasi ako sa one-year na nakalagay dun sa committee report. But I’m open to discussions if they wanted to extend, or give more leeway dun sa mga nauna na, at since time immemorial has been paying taxes,” he added.
Other senators are pushing for a two-year transition period to phase out POGOs, and some want to show illegal POGOs that they can be collared soon.
“May iba na nagsasabi na unahin munang ipakita dun sa mga iligal (POGO) na kaya din naman ng PNP na mai-track ito at maipasara ito,” he said.
The country is still being hounded by strings of POGO-related problems topped by crimes with the majority committed by the so-called illegal offshore gaming companies, he said.
This situation, he said, only shows that the government, much more the PNP and PAGCOR, is not prepared and equipped to handle POGO operations.
Senate, POGO, Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations, Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian