Let POGO’s reopen – solon

WITH the depleting government resources, a House leader suggested that operations of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) should be allowed to continue.

Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Games and Amusements and ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap said the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) can consider the resumption of POGO activities but the gaming firms should follow the enhanced community quarantine guidelines.

Yap suggested the operations can be done at home in order to ensure safety of the players while Luzon and other parts of the country are placed under ECQ due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

PAGCOR has ordered the temporary suspension of POGO and its service providers for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine to prevent further spread of COVID-19 virus.

However, Yap calls for the lifting of this suspension for tax collection purposes.

“In view of exhausting government coffers, the suspension of POGO operations should be lifted immediately to give our tax collection a much-needed boost. We need all the help that we can get right now, hindi makakasama sa atin kung may dagdag tayong makukuhanan ng pera para magamit natin para sa mga kababayan nating nagugutom. Lives are at stake and we need to act fast,” Yap said.

“The foreign workers are here anyway. Like us, some of them are also going out to get what they need. They go to groceries, drug stores, restaurants. Kung nandito lang naman din sila, why not allow them to operate?  Work from home arrangements should be explored or kung kailangan magpunta ng mga workplaces, dapat stay-in. If you can’t do either, you will not be allowed to operate,” Yap added.

PAGCOR said that the suspension was implemented to ensure safety of all employees and to prevent further spread of the virus by limiting its workers’ movements.

The solon believes that this can still be achieved by being creative and careful.

“Kailangan natin mas maging creative, let’s think out of the box. PAGCOR should come up with guidelines stipulating do’s and don’ts.  Malinaw dapat, work from home should be allowed only if its accredited by PAGCOR. Mas malaking problema ang pag-regulate nyan kung aabusuhin ng mga operators and service providers. Para sa mga nasa opisina, they should be strictly monitored by the authorities, they should not behave as if nothing is wrong. The new normal restricts our movement, that should be very clear and that should be strictly observed in order to prevent the spread of the virus,” Yap stressed.

“I honestly believe that the ECQ won’t be totally lifted by April 30 and there may still be a need for us to support the people next month. Saan tayo kukuha ng pondo? Kailangan natin humanap ng paraan para madagdagan ang collection ng taxes, but it should not be at the expense of public health,” the lawmaker also said.