Roque rectifies self after saying POGO gives ‘cash resource’ to Duterte

After a virtual press briefing on April 21, presidential spokesman Harry Roque received comments from netizens after he appeared to have admitted that the online gaming industry gives ‘cash resource’ to President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Department of Finance (DOF) said it eyes the reopening of the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operation (POGO) as the Philippines needs a boost in tax collection.

POGO, which was introduced in 2016, has caused a sudden influx of Chinese nationals arriving in the country.

The said gaming industry has been making intriguing headlines when the Senate started probing crimes involving Chinese nationals. The industry allegedly records a new sex trafficking network, kidnapping, money laundering, and tax evasion.

“So, ang POGO po kabahagi po iyan siguro ng isang industriya na nagbibigay ng cash resource sa president, sa ating pamahalaan sa pamamagitan ng buwis at ang tatanungin po natin is ano iyong risk na pino-pose ng operation ng POGO? Mababawasan ba iyong risk ng pagkalat ng sakit sa pamamagitan ng social distancing at pupuwede bang mag-work from home iyang mga POGO industries na iyan?” Roque said in the virtual press briefing.

(POGO might be one industry that gives cash resources to the president through its taxes. The question which one may utter is the possible risk when POGO opens? Does it give less threat when industry imposes social distancing and work from home arrangements?)

Slip of the tongue? Who knows?

“No one would refer to income from taxes as a cash resource. No legal government income is called cash resource,” a Twitter user said, citing the clip of Roque’s statement.

Twitter users observed in jest that based on Roque’s manner of speaking, he has made a ‘slip of the tongue’ in his answers.

It is now an interrogative among netizens the term “cash resource” to describe the government’s income coming from POGOs’ taxes.

Earlier this year, the POGO industry was reported to have P50-billion unpaid taxes in the country.

Meanwhile, on March 17, the Duterte administration tasked the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to manage POGOs’ temporary suspension after the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

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