MANILA, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday ordered the closure of all online gambling companies operating in the country as it continues to leave the government on the losing end.

"I am ordering the closure of all online gaming. All of them. They have no use," the president said during the ceremonial signing of the 2017 budget in Malacanang, the Philippine presidential palace.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, in an interview in Malacanang, clarified that Duterte was referring to online gambling firms and not online games.

Duterte said while it appears that the online gambling operations are flourishing in the country, the government does not earn from it as the betting are being done abroad which means it is not taxable in the country.

He added another problem is that some gambling operators continue to operate using old licenses which only requires them to pay a one percent tax compared to the 10 percent tax that is being charged on the new operators.

Aguirre said the president had directed him to investigate the irregularities involving online gambling and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Special Assistant to the President Christopher "Bong" Go is already drafting the "scope of my authority to investigate on online gambling."

He said he is planning to create a team that would conduct the probe instead of just delegating it to the National Bureau of Investigations.