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46 of 58 POGO hubs are colorum, Barbers says

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

House Committee on Dangerous Drugs chair and Surigao del Sur Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said 46 of the 58 gaming hubs under the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) are operating despite being allegedly unregistered local or foreign corporations.

Barbers said he might “not be too accurate” but he was certain that most if not all of the 46 POGOs “have no legal personality because their names are not found in the business or company name registry in the Philippines or abroad.”

“These colorum or ‘ghost’ POGOs operate in the Philippines but they are not registered in our country as a business entity,” said Barbers.

“Para silang (POGOs) jeepney o bus na kolorum operators – yung mga bumibiyahe sa isang partikular na ruta pero walang prankisa mula sa LTO (Land Transportation Office),” he added.

Barbers said he was eyeing a congressional inquiry to go after alleged colorum POGO hubs operating in the country, adding that it may undermine the local anti-money laundering and anti-drug and criminality campaigns.

He said based on investigative reports and a study made by the UN, like what the Italy-based mafia and drug syndicates from Macau and Cambodia did, these groups created their own online gaming firms and used them as a money laundering tool.

Last week, four congressmen led by House Minority Floor Leader Bienvenido Abante filed House Resolution No. 337 that seeks to investigate ehe POGO industry in light of allegations that the booming business “has led to the influx of unregistered foreign workers and government revenue losses as a result of non-payment of income taxes.”

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