July 8, 2021

Covid response funding was boosted thanks to online gaming, according to PRRD

Despite previously opposing internet gambling, President Rodrigo Duterte stated on Wednesday that he was obliged to legalize it to help the country’s Covid-19 response funding.

Duterte claimed legalizing gambling businesses was the most “logical” thing to do in a pre-recorded meeting with his political party leaders, given the government’s financial constraints.

“Itong sugal, bakit ko pinayagan?” says the narrator. Eh, wala tayong pera. (Why did I allow gambling?) ngayon kasi kailangan natin ng pera (Why did I allow gambling?) ngayon kasi kailangan natin ng pera We don’t have any money… Now when we’re in desperate need of funds, the most logical thing to do is to promote such activities. Though that may not seem particularly unpleasant to some, “eh magdusa na muna kayo kasi kailangan ko talaga ang pera para sa bayan (you must cope with it because we need funds for the country),” he said.

Duterte said that he was formerly opposed to internet gambling, claiming that he even insisted on a no-casino policy at well-known resorts like Boracay and Bohol.

According to him, the government has been obliged to use money set aside from gaming activities due to the current epidemic.

“Sabi nila na lahat sa panahon ko pinayagan ko ang sugal,” says the speaker (They say I allowed gambling during my time). Yes, it is correct. It’s not anything I refute. Now I’d like to transport your thoughts back a few years. ‘Di ba noong Presidente ako bago, sinabi ko ‘ayaw ko ng sugal’ (Di ba noong Presidente ako bago, sinabi ko ‘I am against gambling’) and I never permitted it,” he added.

It was the only way, he claimed, to prevent Covid-19 from infecting additional individuals throughout the nation.

“Naubos ang pera natin pagdating ng pandemic. May reserba natin nagamit natin lahat (We’re running out of money when it comes to the epidemic.) We used all of our reserves to keep the viral infection from spreading throughout the country,” he said.

Duterte, on the other hand, said that he is still opposed to gambling “at the barangay level,” claiming that it would be more difficult to regulate.

Despite the fact that Malacaang acknowledges Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) as tax income producers for the government in the midst of the current health crisis, it would not allow them to avoid paying the proper taxes.

Around 60 POGOs have been granted operating permits in the Philippines.

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