Task Force POGO ‘toothless’ — Cong. Yap

BAGUIO CITY — Government is toothless against the Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGOs), even with the newly created inter-agency task force.

“TF POGO is toothless,” House of Representative Games and Amusement Committee chairman Eric Go Yap said here at the sidelines of his visit in Benguet, where he is appointed as caretaker congressman.

The lawmaker said that an inter-agency effort working as a single apparatus is lacking.

“The government is even blind about these POGOs,” Rep. Yap lamented, claiming that Filipinos are being shortchanged in terms of revenues that should have been collected by the government to fund essential programs and projects for nation-building.

Yap’s games and amusements committee at the House has invited BIR representatives for the second time to shed light on POGO revenue collection after the agency’s “snub” of the first House committee invitation.

“They have to come and enlighten the country,” the lawmaker urged, while warning he might finally move to cite them in contempt.

“We must fix this (POGO) to seize the advantages these bring to the Philippine economy,”  added Yap.

Benefits outweigh issues thrown against POGOs, the ACT-CIS partylist lawmaker claims.

Abra lawmaker JB Bernos, Yap’s vice-chairman of the Games and Amusements Committee at the House also said government’s regulatory powers must be exercised now and curb the woes cropping up with the operation of these offshore gaming entities.

The TF POGO earlier admitted it has still to finalize a complete list of these workers with the goal of collecting an estimated P22 billion or more yearly income taxes from them. ●

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