President Rodrigo Duterte said he retracted his policy on gambling and Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) and allowed their operations to help the government raise funds amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Duterte, in a meeting with PDP-Laban officials, said he was against gambling.

“‘Di ba noong presidente ako bago, sinabi ko ‘ayaw ko ng sugal’ and I never allowed it. But pagdating ng pandemic, naubos ang pera natin,” he said.

In May, Duterte called for the immediate enactment of Senate Bill No. 2232, which aims to tax POGOs.

Duterte spokesman Harry Roque said then that Duterte hoped to generate “much-needed revenues” and place the POGO industry under stricter government oversight through the bill.

The government could generate about P122 billion revenue over the next four years from the measure, House ways and means panel chairperson and Albay Rep. Joey Salceda earlier said.

The Senate approved the bill on final reading on June 3.

“Ngayon kasi kailangan natin ng pera, the most sensible thing is really just to encourage those activities, though it may sound not really repulsive but maybe repugnant to some lang, e
magdusa na muna kayo kasi kailangan ko talaga ang pera para sa bayan,” Duterte said.

About 60 POGO operators have licenses to operate in the country. John Ezekiel J. Hirro