Majority of Filipinos are not in favor of allowing Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) to stay and operate in the country, Senator Win Gatchalian said, citing a recent survey conducted by Pulse Asia Research Inc.
The survey, conducted from December 3 to 7 last year with 1,200 respondents, indicates that 85% of those surveyed do not favor POGO operations in the country. Specifically, 82% in the National Capital Region, 88% in Balance Luzon, 93% in Visayas, and 75% in Mindanao are against POGO operations. In terms of class, 87% of those in ABC class, 85% in the D class, and 84% in E class oppose POGO operations in the country.
“This is overwhelming evidence that the majority of our people have realized that POGOs have become a liability and that they support the termination of the industry’s operations in the country,” Gatchalian said. The survey showed that only a measly 6% of those surveyed nationwide favor POGO operations.
Among those opposed to POGO operations, the main reasons cited for their disfavor include an increase in POGO-related crime incidence involving Chinese nationals at 59%; proliferation of vices at 56%; an increasing number of Chinese nationals employed in the country at 48%; tax-evasion committed by certain POGO operators at 39%; lack of opportunities given to Filipinos at 34%; and increasing rent or cost of residential or business properties at 27%. Other reasons cited include a religious belief that gambling is against Islam.
Asked how the administration of President Marcos should act to resolve the issue of POGOs in the country, majority or 87% said the government should terminate POGO operations in the within 3 months.
The chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, Gatchalian has been advocating for the expulsion of POGOs from the country to help address the proliferation of transnational crimes and economic losses derived from their presence in the country. His call has garnered the support of major government agencies, including the Philippine National Police, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, and the economic team.
Crimes proliferating and attributed to the POGO industry include prostitution, human trafficking, forcible abduction, homicide, illegal detention, kidnapping-for-ransom, theft, robbery-extortion, serious physical injuries, swindling, grave coercion, and various online frauds such as investment scams, cryptocurrency scams, and love scams.