POGOs ignore Duterte warning on taxes

Jess Diaz - The Philippine Star
POGOs ignore Duterte warning on taxes

MANILA, Philippines — It seems that the Chinese-owned Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) are not afraid of President Duterte as none of them has heeded his warning 10 days ago for them to pay taxes, or else…

Members of the House of Representatives committee on games and amusement made this observation yesterday after hearing the statement of assistant commissioner James Roldan of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) that none of the 50 offshore-based POGOs has paid the five-percent franchise tax the agency has been trying to collect from them.

Roldan said only the 10 locally incorporated POGO firms are paying the franchise tax. However, he could not remember how much the BIR has collected from them.

Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Dasmariñas City in Cavite, who presided over yesterday’s hearing as committee vice chairman, told reporters that based on Roldan’s testimony, it was clear that the offshore-based POGOs did not heed the President’s warning for them to pay their overdue taxes.

He asked Roldan to submit to the committee data on taxes paid by the service providers of these 50 POGOs, as well as franchise, income and other levies collected from the 10 partly Filipino-owned gambling operators and their service contractors.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, author of a resolution that prompted the inquiry, said the 50 foreign POGOs “are not afraid of our tough-talking President.”

The Chief Executive gave the warning on POGO taxes in a television interview last Nov. 29.

“You better settle it. I am giving you at least three days grace period o barilin ko kayo ng debomba (or I shoot you with explosives). Seriously now, wag ninyo lokohin ang Pilipino kasi ang Pilipino hindi loko-loko. Pag niloko mo ako sapakin kita (don’t make a fool out of Filipinos, because we are not fools. You do that and I’ll beat you up),” he said.

Despite the non-payment of taxes, Barzaga said the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), which licenses POGOs, has not shut down any of the operators.




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