President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines said officials involved with Chinese POGOs will face punishment from the country’s Department of Justice. The Bureau of Immigration officials were involved in bribery allegations from POGO workers.
The Department of Justice will punish officials found guilty of bribery allegations. This is according to the Philippines premiere. Officials from the Bureau of Immigration fell under the radar of authorities following bribery allegations linked with Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) workers. These are casinos operating from the Philippines but offer their services to players outside of the country.
Around 43 officials from the immigration bureau stand accused of allowing Chinese nationals to enter the country without proper checks. These nationals are also workers at various POGOs. The officials are accused of accepting bribes of close to PHP10,000.
But the immigration officials are yet to be dismissed from their workstations. Harry Roque said they are on suspension pending the outcome of their bribery cases. Roque is the presidential spokesperson.
Roque also added the president’s message is meant to ensure the DOJ performs its mandate. They also said the acts of bribery are unacceptable and they must be dismissed soonest.
The Philippines president is also backing Bill 2232’s approval by the Senate. This bill contains clauses forcing Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators to pay 5% of their GGR. The bill will also require foreigners in the online gambling scene as well as their service providers to pay 25% in income tax.
The result of the 5% tax on turnover is the mass exodus of gaming operators. But the country’s Supreme Court threw the industry a Hail Mary after it issued temporary restraining orders to suspend the tax.
Many operators saw the 5% tax as the last straw on their backs. This led to their exit to other favorable markets.
The House of Representatives amended several aspects of the bill. One of these changes includes the tax identification numbers for all foreign POGO workers. Another change includes the prevention of the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport from issuing POGOs with new licenses.
But the PAGCOR chairman expressed their disagreement with the several changes in the bill. Andrea Domingo said some of the groups want to offer POGOs an unfair advantage. The chairman said the policies and regulations must be applied across the board.
May 2020 saw the Philippine gaming regulator release a statement announcing tougher gambling regulations. The regulations are aimed at offshore brands offering online gaming.
These regulations come even as POGOs make a return to the Philippines. The president allowed online gambling as biting cash crunch affects the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. President Duterte said the government didn’t have money. They also said the only sensible way out of the problem is to encourage such activities.