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Even if they pay taxes, government must continue to keep watch over POGOs — Zarate

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Even if they are taxed, Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) in the country should continue to be investigated, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate said on Tuesday.

At a hearing of the House committee on games and amusement, the Makabayan lawmaker noted the lingering security concerns involving POGOs.

“Fact is, the security concerns raised against POGOs are very valid because China has the means, capacity and motive to use these hubs for its own military and political purposes,” said the Davao-based solon.

“POGOs in the country are located near military and police bases like Camp Aguinaldo (Armed Forces of the Philippines); Camp Crame (Philippine National Police); Camp Bagong Diwa (PNP National Capital Region Police Office); Fort Bonifacio (Philippine Army); Villamor Air Base (Philippine Air Force); and the Philippine Navy headquarters in Manila,” he said.

“Also with China’s technology they can easily turn such sites into spying operations,” Zarate added.

“But what is more important factor though is that they have a motive for spying in the Philippines especially with their aggressive and militaristic stance in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Last month, the House committee on ways and means approved a bill to tax the POGOs operating in the Philippines and its foreign workers to pay an additional 5 percent franchise tax and 25 percent income tax, respectively.

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