Andrea Domingo, recently appointed CEO of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (PAGCOR), has been ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte to strictly implement Presidential Decree No. 1067-B, which along with government officials and members of the Philippine Armed Forces and Philippine National Police, bans all of its agencies that are directly involved with government operations from both playing and staying in casinos, according to politics.com.
Former President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled the country under martial law for almost a decade and during his time in office grew the Philippine national debt from $2 billion to nearly $30 billion, issued the Decree in 1983. The country’s 16th President and member of the PDP-Laban political party made mention of the fact that during the late Marcos’ time in office government officials were forbidden from entering casinos.
Duterte said, “I do not want people in the government entering the casino. You are in the government with a measly income and yet you’ll be seen in a casino?” according to the transcript translated by the news agency. In addition, Duterte said that the ban would also include family members of all of the above mentioned as well as individuals under 21 years old and students attending any Philippine school, college, or university, as reported.
However, in spite of the ban, prominent government officials have been allowed to engage in casinos in the past, including former Land Transportation Office Chief Virgie Torres in 2013 and in 1996, Joseph Estrada, who served as the 13th President of the Philippines before being ousted in 2001. A memorandum was issued by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who served the remainder of Estrada’s term after he was deposed and held the office until 2010, which echoed the ban on officials of the government from playing in casinos.
Earlier this month, only hours after being sworn in as the country’s 16th President, Duterte vowed to stop the proliferation of online gambling in the Philippines, saying that “sometime” soon he would be directing Andrea Domingo, who Duterte selected in May to head PAGCOR, to rescind existing online gambling licenses. Duterte cited the difficulty in taxing online gambling as the main reason for his decision.
In other PAGCOR news, a Commission On Audit (COA), an independent constitutional commission whose members are appointed by the President of the Philippines, investigation reportedly found that the country’s gambling regulator owes just over $327 million to the government resulting from an under-remittance of tax from 2011 to 2015.