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PamCham: Ban POGOs in PH

The Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (PamCham) is strongly advocating for the banning of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) operations in the country, citing the extensive social, economic, and reputational damage they cause.

In a statement, the PamCham leadership also expressed belief that the negative impacts of such operations far outweigh any minimal economic contributions they may offer. 

The recent discovery of a POGO facility in Porac, Pampanga, purported to be larger and more expansive than the previously identified operation in Bamban, raises grave concerns for the local business community. 

Negative Impact on the Economy

While POGO operations may provide short-term economic benefits, such as employment opportunities and rental income, these benefits are substantially overshadowed by the long-term negative effects on the local economy and society.

Minimal Economic Contribution

POGO operations contribute insignificantly to the local economy compared to legitimate businesses. They often operate in a gray area, providing limited tax revenues and minimal direct benefits to the broader economy.

According to reports, the tax contributions from POGOs are negligible relative to the scale of their operations and the resources they consume.

Negative Impression on Business and Investments

The presence of a significant POGO operation in Porac also tarnishes the region’s reputation as a safe and viable destination for legitimate business and investments.

Perception of Increased Crime

Large POGO operations are often associated with illegal activities, including human trafficking, money laundering, and other criminal acts. This perception can deter potential investors who are wary of operating in a region associated with such activities.

Negative Publicity

Media coverage of large POGO operations and their associated issues can lead to negative publicity. This can harm the image of Pampanga as a business-friendly environment, affecting investor confidence and long-term investment prospects.

Strain on Public Services

The influx of POGO workers, many of whom are foreign nationals, can strain local public services such as healthcare, law enforcement, and housing. This can lead to public dissatisfaction and a decline in the quality of life for local residents.

Business Security Concerns

The operation of POGOs can create a negative impression regarding business security, particularly if there is perceived or actual condonation by local chief executives and law enforcement agencies. This undermines trust in local governance and law enforcement, further deterring legitimate businesses and investors from entering the region.

Strengthening Regulations and Enforcement

In the interim, PamCham urges stricter regulations and more robust enforcement against illegal POGO activities to mitigate their negative impacts.

Promotion of Sustainable and Legitimate Businesses

Authorities should focus on promoting sustainable and legitimate business opportunities that contribute positively to the local economy and society, ensuring long-term economic stability and growth.

The Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (PamCham) urges local authorities and the national government to take decisive action against the proliferation of POGO operations in the region. 

The minimal economic contributions from these operations do not justify the significant negative impacts on the economy, the community, and the region’s reputation as a prime destination for legitimate business and investment.

PamCham remains committed to fostering a business environment that is safe, stable, and conducive to sustainable countryside economic growth.