Senator De Lima lambastes gov’t plan to resume POGO operations amid the COVID-19

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De Lima

Senator Leila de Lima on Friday lambasted the Duterte administration on its plan to bring back the operations of the Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) industry, run by the Chinese.

“This administration continues to pin their hopes on promises of economic gains by Chinese firms. But reality suggests that our country only gets pittance from these companies instead of what our laws require them to pay. They operate with impunity, followed by a trail of corruption, crime and social ills wherever they go,” said De Lima, in a dispatch from Crame No. 777.

De Lima is now detained at the Philippine National Police (PNP) Custodial Center inside Camp Crame in Quezon City over drug charges.

“Kung noon pa interes ng taumbayan na ang hangad ng administrasyon na paglingkuran, hindi na kailangan pa pag-usapan ang POGO, noon at ngayon,” she said.

“Give the public a break from lies and deceits! POGO has been evading the government billions of taxes since day one. So, how on earth can it “boost state funds” for COVID-19 response?,” she said.

“Ang ginagastos ng gobyerno para tugunan ang krisis ay galing lahat sa kaban ng bayan. At bunga ng kawang-gawa, bayanihan at pagdadamayan ng mga Pilipino. Tapos ano, uunahin pa ang negosyong hindi nagbabayad ng buwis at trabaho ng mga Tsino kaysa ng mga Pilipino?,” De Lima said.

“Pinagmumukhang inutil ng mga POGO ang mga ahensya ng gobyerno natin mula pa man noong una. Pero tila pinapalabas ngayon na sila ang magsasalba sa ating ekonomiya,” she said.

“ECQ man o modified lockdown, kailan pa naging essential work ang pagsusugal at essential business ang pasugalan? Hinuhuli ang mga Pilipino na nagsusugal sa loob ng bahay at sandamakmak na paghihigpit ang ipinatutupad sa lansangan, pero ang mga Chinese pwedeng magsugal at ang nasa 150 daang libong POGO workers maglamyerda sa daan? Sobra na ito!,” she said.

The continuous operations of POGOs do not serve Filipino interest, De Lima said.

They serve the interests of Chinese criminals, she said.

The fact that they are outlawed in their own country should have made it clear  that they have no intention of following the law, she said. They are here to line their pockets, nothing more.

“Itigil na natin ang pagpapa-uto sa mga Tsinong wala namang malasakit sa ating bayan. Tama na ang kahibangan ng ating gobyerno sa POGO!,” De Lima also said./Stacy Ang

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