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Why reopen tax-evading POGOs? They pose a risk to public health, safety – Hontiveros

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Senator Risa Hontiveros has denounced the government’s decision to allow Chinese-led offshore gambling operations to operate during the lockdown period.

Hontiveros, who has called for a ban on Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) over unpaid taxes and social ills brought to the nation, said these activities pose a risk to public health and safety.

“Bakit inuna ang pagbalik ng mga POGO workers sa trabaho kaysa ang mga kapwang Pilipino?” she asked in a Facebook post.

Hontiveros slammed the reopening of POGOs in quarantine areas even though they have been delinquent in payment of taxes.

“PAGCOR needs to explain why it recommended the reopening of POGOs when they haven’t even paid their taxes and are involved in prostitution and human trafficking,” she said.

She also warned that allowing POGOs to resume operations endangers public health.

“Not only that, sending 120,000 workers of a non-essential industry back to work during a pandemic undermines our lockdown measures. POGO is a risk to our public health & safety. Period,” she said.

Malacañang has announced that POGOs will be allowed to resume operations since they belong to business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.

This was a turnaround from an earlier task force decision to ban POGOs during the extended community quarantine in entire Luzon since last March 17. They previously considered POGOs as part of the gaming and amusement sector, whose activities remained prohibited during the lockdown.

The lockdown in Metro Manila and several high risk areas has been extended anew until May 15.

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