Ejercito threatens to withdraw support for POGO expulsion move

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 22 2023 09:03 PM

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News/file
Phil-Asian Gaming Expo features offshore games targeting bettors outside the Philippines. Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA — Sen. JV Ejercito on Friday threatened to withdraw his signature from the Senate committee report that recommends to totally ban Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) in the country.

Ejercito said he wants Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian to amend a portion of his report that mandates a “three-month” phaseout for POGOs.

“I made it clear before to Sen. Gatchalian that I am not in favor of abruptly ending POGO in three months," Ejercito told journalists.

He explained that it might give a negative impression to foreign investors, specifically on how fast it changes its policies to the detriment of businessmen.

Showing “inconsistency” in government policies is bad for business, Ejercito said.

“Ginawa nyong legal, tapos babawiin... So hindi magandang tingnan, especially to the international community... Let us also give time for businesses, for employment that are related to POGO, to find the alternatives. Dapat paghandaan. Hindi yung bigla basta-basta,” he said.

For Ejercito, the ideal phase-out period for POGOs should be 2 to 3 years.

Asked if he will withdraw his signature if Gatchalian insists on POGOs’ three-month phase-out period, Ejercito replied: “Yes.”

Gatchalian has yet to respond to Ejercito’s pronouncements.