CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: Cagayan de Oro City Second District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez is opposing plans to privatize the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).

Pagcor is the government's gambling and casino regulatory body.

In a statement on Thursday, Rodriguez said Pagcor earns billions of pesos annually that alleviated the government's financial needs during the coronavirus pandemic alone.

Despite the pandemic, he added, the regulatory body made P26.7 billion in the first half of 2022, P32.6 billion last year and P30 billion in 2020.

"Pagcor earns tens of billions of pesos a year for the government and for its numerous public service programs. I am strongly against privatizing it," Rodriguez said.

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He also said private investors are profit-motivated and would care less about public service like helping the sick and building schools than a public agency like Pagcor.

Rodriguez pointed out that as a private entity, Pagcor cannot continue being a regulator and at the same time a player in the gaming industry.

Instead of privatizing the regulatory body, he said, the government should create a "Casino Gaming Regulatory Authority" so that Pagcor could continue to be a gaming-casino operator.