Philippine senator wants BPOs to replace POGOs

A Senate leader has presented a bill to ban online gambling in the Philippines.
A Senate leader has presented a bill to ban online gambling in the Philippines.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian says that business process outsourcing could help absorb jobs lost by a potential ban on online gaming companies.

The Philippines.- Amid the ongoing debate in the Senate about a potential ban on POGOs, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has suggested that the Philippines could mitigate the impact of a ban on online gaming by growing the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. 

Gatchalian noted that POGOs contribute PHP34.68bn a year to the country, or 1 per cent of GDP. He said that while this contribution could be considered significant, the impact of a ban could be mitigated by attracting BPO companies, which could take up office space left by gaming operators.

He also noted that, according to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), there is no roadmap for the POGO industry due to the uncertainty surrounding its future.

According to Gatchalian, the Philippines should cultivate sustainable businesses that create trickle-down employment rather than those that cause uncertainty as a result of changing external policies. He noted that the country is losing the war on POGO-related crime, as only one of the 99 cases investigated by police has ended in a conviction.

Gatchalian said that if POGOs are banned, there should be a gradual transition period to give Filipino workers linked to the industry time to look for new jobs and potentially be absorbed by the BPO sector.

Yesterday (October 11), the president of the Philippine Senate, Juan Miguel Zubiri, claimed that China had placed the Philippines on its tourist destination blacklist due to concerns about the offshore gambling industry. However, in a statement, the Chinese Embassy denied the claims.

Garafil said only that the Philippines shared the Chinese Embassy’s view that tourism is a crucial component of practical cooperation between the two nations.

The Philippine News Agency has reported Office of the Press Secretary officer-in-charge Cheloy Garafil as saying that president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr is monitoring the claims of crimes linked to online gambling but that the Philippine National Police (PNP) was responsible for the matter.

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