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Makati city confirms freeze on POGO business licenses

Makati City Mayor Abby Binay announced on Sunday that her municipal government will cease issuing new business licenses and permits to service providers of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) until further notice.

"We would no longer accept new applications for POGO service providers and crack down hard against illegal activities that are catering to POGOs and their employees within Makati," she said in a statement.

Mayor Binay cited the need to curb criminality and prostitution, as well as to take pressue off of the tightening commercial property market.

This action echoes comments made by Pagcor Chairperson Andrea Domingo at the G2E Asia conference last Tuesday.

Makati city is currently the base for around three hundred POGO service providers that employ thousands of workers, mostly Chinese nationals.

According to Mayor Binay, POGOs are now paying more than PHP200 (US$4 million) annually in local business taxes.

The announcement came shortly after police raided on a hotel in Makati that was allegedly being used as a front for prostitution. Police rescued 35 women who are believed to be sex workers.

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