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Why so special? Pangilinan, Hontiveros seek Senate probe into PAGCOR’s lobby for POGOs

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Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros are calling for a Senate investigation into the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation’s (PAGCOR) lobby to allow Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) to operate despite the Luzon-wide lockdown due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The two senators filed Senate Resolution 396 Thursday (May 7) after PAGCOR allowed POGOs to resume partial operations, subject to strict conditions, purportedly to boost government revenues during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pangilinan and Hontiveros said PAGCOR placed Filipinos’ health and well-being at risk by allowing POGOs to operate again.

“Allowing the partial resumption of POGO operations could reverse the efforts put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19 as there is no assurance that POGOs will follow the Department of Health’s guidelines on physical distancing, wearing of masks, and frequent handwashing and sanitation,” they added.

PAGCOR chairperson Andrea Domingo had argued that POGOs should be allowed to operate again since they are part of the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector, which remains operational during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila.

The IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP), however, rejected that POGOs are part of the BPO industry,

PAGCOR also placed ads this week in major newspapers refuting allegations, including a report by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) linking POGOs to crimes including drug trafficking and money laundering.

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