By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Party-list Rep. Ronnie Ong (Ang Probinsyano) has welcomed Malacañang pronouncement over the proposal to regulate and limit the number of gaming hubs operating under the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO).
Ong, vice chair of the House committee on games and amusement, made the remarks after President Rodrigo Duterte recently said he is eyeing to impose restrictions on offshore gaming hubs operating under the POGO system, citing the reported high cases of corruption, extortion, and kidnapping linked to the operations of online gaming.
“It’s good and it will monitor the POGO industry,” he said.
According to Ong, the best way to regulate gaming hubs under POGO is to “fix the monitoring system” of operators running under POGO.
He renewed his call for the mandatory issuance of Gaming Employment License (GEL) identification cards to all foreign nationals working in various offshore gaming hubs in the country.
He said the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) should issue GEL IDs to foreigners working for offshore gaming operators under the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) so that they can be properly documented.
He noted that GEL IDs are already being issued to gaming industry employees, with the exception of those working in POGOs—mostly Chinese nationals.
Ong stressed that GEL IDs for POGO personnel should contain not only their picture and birth date but also their alien certificate number, tax identification number, employment name and address of their office and their temporary residence.
Aside from allowing the government to properly monitor the increasing number of POGO employees in the country, the issuance of these GEL IDs would also help the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in its tax mapping for the POGO industry according to Ong.