PAGCOR hopes to reopen POGOs this month
In a speech during the SIGMA Asia Focus Digital forum on Tuesday, Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Andrea Domingo said some Philippine offshore gaming operators have already complied with the requirements set by the regulator and the Bureau of Internal Revenue for the resumption of their operations.
Vallery Hache/AFP
PAGCOR hopes to reopen POGOs this month
Mary Grace Padin (The Philippine Star) - June 11, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) is hoping for the resumption of offshore gaming operations this month as companies start to comply with the requirements set by the government.

In a speech during the SIGMA Asia Focus Digital forum on Tuesday, Pagcor chairman and chief executive officer Andrea Domingo said some Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) have already complied with the requirements set by the regulator and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) for the resumption of their operations.

“When the President approved the resumption of their operations, on their own, they (POGOs) volunteered to pay in full all the salaries of the Filipinos who did not work in April. And they paid in full the withholding taxes and they paid in full to Pagcor their minimum guarantee fund of about P350 million,” Domingo said.

The Pagcor chief is hoping that these firms would be able to resume their operations this month.

Domingo, however, has not replied to The STAR’s inquiries on how many POGO firms have already complied. The BIR has also not responded so far.

POGOs were allowed to resume partial operations last May following the relaxation of quarantine rules in some areas.

Before reopening, however, POGOs and their service providers are required to pay their franchise taxes, income taxes and withholding taxes, as well as a guarantee fund of about P350 million.

They are also required to comply with the government’s safety and health protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

With the anticipated resumption of POGO operations, Domingo said Pagcor hopes to collect at least P2.5 billion more in taxes and processing fees from these companies in the second half of the year.

She said the gaming agency collected P1.8 billion from POGOs starting January until March 18 this year.

Currently, there are 60 offshore gaming operators and 237 service providers registered with Pagcor. Domingo said service providers alone hire 30,000 Filipinos and about 90,000 foreign nationals.

Meanwhile, Domingo said Pagcor is planning to resolve issues hounding the POGO industry ahead of the national elections in 2022.

The Pagcor chief warned that parties from the opposition may use POGOs as ammunition against the government once political campaigns start.

“Those who are against (the government) are always looking for a handle or leverage for something that they could put their hands on. Unfortunately, they think POGO is it because of the concentration of a lot of foreign workers in some areas. This, we are going to solve,” Domingo said.

For one, she said Pagcor is encouraging the establishment of POGO hubs.

These hubs are envisioned to house both the offices of offshore gaming regulators, as well as the residences for their workers. Government agencies such as Pagcor will also set up offices in these hubs, enabling authorities to easily monitor POGOs.

Domingo said Pagcor has also stopped accrediting new operators while it is harmonizing all rules and regulations governing POGOs.

“One, we’re going to harmonize the BIR tax structure. Two, we’re going to harmonize immigration and labor policies. And three, we’re going to harmonize our law enforcement agency, with a total effort of ensuring safe play, fairness and also safety and security for all workers in POGOs,” she said.

The Pagcor chief also reiterated that the agency does not condone the presence of non-registered offshore gaming operators or NOGOs.

“Those are the ones that we get arrested. Those are the ones whose foreign workers we get deported,” she said.

PAGCOR POGOS
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with