A bill has been filed against Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) which aims to ban and make them illegal.

“It is therefore declared by the State that ‘Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations’ conducted within the Philippines have increasingly become a social menace and a source of unimaginable corruption,” declared the still unnumbered bill called the “Anti-POGO Act of 2020.”

House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr., author of the bill, expressed his opposition to POGO operations, saying POGOs “do not provide any tangible, impactful benefits to our country,” during a privilege speech at the House on Monday.

Crimes allegedly committed by POGOs, the bill claims, include those against anti-money laundering, immigration, and taxation aside from “untold criminal offenses and heinous crimes related to the conduct of such operations.”

The bill also mentioned the displacement of qualified Filipino citizens in favour of foreign nationals working for POGOs.

The bill prohibits acts related to POGO such as the facilitation through any gadget or device within Philippine territory, acceptance of any form of gambling, acting as a service provider, creation of a hub and the establishment or provision of a gaming laboratory.

With the intention to declare POGOs as illegal, all licenses of any foreign-based operators, local gaming agents, POGOs, and its service providers will be considered revoked.

Thus, no work permits will be issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) once the bill becomes law.

“The Bureau of Immigration is likewise prohibited from issuing any visa or Alien Employment Permit for offshore gaming operations in the Philippines,” the bill adds. (Jojo Mangahis)