MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday reiterated his call for the closure of Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) to stop the flow of ‘dirty money’ into the country.
In a radio interview, Drilon expressed his dismay about the country being used as a “washing machine” by organized syndicates to launder their funds from abroad, which land in casinos and banks, despite the existing Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA).
He added that this has become possible because of the proliferation of POGOs in the country.
“Yung ating banking system, financial system in general, ay ginagawang washing machine kung saan yung maruruming pera na kung saan-saang panig ng mundo nanggaling ay dinadala dito bansa at ipapasok sa casino o bangko o kung saan man at paglabas ay malinis na,” Drilon said.
“Sa akin po, hindi ba nag-umpisa ito lahat ng magtayo ng POGOs sa ating bansa? To me, the solution is we stop overseas gaming in the country. It does not bring us any substantial benefit,” he added.
Drilon made the statement ahead of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee’s hearing on Thursday into the influx of foreign cash allegedly brought to the country mostly by Chinese nationals.
The senator earlier urged his colleagues to examine the issue carefully, and consider expressing the sentiment of the Senate that POGO operations should be stopped.
He also called on the Bureau of Customs and Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to implement tougher policies against dirty money.
Under Philippine laws, any person is required to declare any amount exceeding $10,000 or its equivalent to any other foreign currency being brought into or out of the country.
The Department of Finance has ordered the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to work with AMLC in probing alleged attempts by syndicates to bring in large sums of foreign currency into the country.
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