The Senate on Wednesday passed on the third and final reading Senate Bill 2232 that mandates the taxing of Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos).
Only three senators dissented - Franklin Drilon, Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan and Ana Theresia "Risa" Hontiveros.
Hontiveros said "the Senate is in agreement that online gambling is not the kind of foreign direct investment we want to encourage."
She cited that almost all forms of gambling, including online gambling "are illegal in mainland China."
"That is why we're not surprised to learn many of the characters involved in this so-called industry have ties to criminal syndicates and organized crime," Hontiveros said.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality said "the social costs to the Philippines' hosting of online gambling are not just quantifiable, they're also alarming."
"Yes, let's close the tax loopholes, but let's not stop there. Gambling is not like any other business and it shouldn't be treated like any other business," Hontiveros said.
Sen. Richard Gordon pushed for the inclusion of all economic zones, tourism zones and free port authorities in the list of agencies that will be issued joint and consolidated rules for the implementation of efficient exchange of information in relation to the proper payment of taxes by Pogos.
"If they are not included then what regime will they be covered? We might as well put them under the coverage of the proposed amendment," Gordon said.
He was referring to Subic and Clark special economic and freeport zones which were not included in the original amendment.