PH ‘interested’ if China offers something for POGO ban: But Locsin admits rich POGO owners won’t like it
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin said the Duterte administration could find it intriguing if China offers something in return for banning Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) which is corrupting its citizens’ social fabric.
“It hasn’t gotten to that but it would be interesting if it comes to that,” said Locsin in reply to ANC’s Karen Davila who asked what the government would do if China offered it something in return for shutting down what President Xi Jinping considered as illegal in his country.
“What do we do? We give up construction, we give up ancillary services for which Filipinos are paid like catering, we give up shopping, we give up all that. So what are they going to give us? Maybe we can do that,” he added.
But Locsin believed owners of POGOs would oppose the government giving
in to China’s plea for a ban.
“If you do that then let me say the Filipinos who own POGOs, and they are rich, I hope they don’t advertise in any media that campaigns against POGO. And media will understand the consequences,” Locsin said.
Locsin, however, stressed that as things stand, the government would not grant China’s appeal for a ban.
“I’m not going to talk about that (the billions in government revenues coming from POGOs) because the point is it favors us…I won’t do it.
Are we really going to close POGO? The other countries like Cambodia, which is heavily dependent on China, they can threaten, but (Philippines) they can’t. One thing about us we came into the Chinese game really late,” said Locsin.
“Before I was in government, I told a Chinese ambassador, ‘Are you gonna throw money at us like you threw money in Africa?’ ‘No, we didn’t get our money back in Africa. Now you’re going to have to prove that every Chinese-Filipino project makes money for both sides’,” he added.