MANILA – Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III called on legislators Friday to approve a law that will ban Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) if they want this sector to stop their operations.
In a briefing, he said the Department of Finance (DOF) only implements the law and cannot run after POGOs more than the latter’s tax-related violations.
“You want to make it illegal, please pass a law. That’s what it is. We are willing to implement. We are sworn to implement all the laws in the country but we cannot implement things that are not in the law or else we will be accused of over stretching,” he said.
Some lawmakers have called for the stoppage of POGO activities in the country, citing their tax violations.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has padlocked offices of several POGOs and POGO service providers for tax violations.
Officials of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) said gaming-related revenues of the government from POGOs were projected to be about PHP73 billion in 2019 alone and this is projected to increase this year.
Daily inflows from the sector is also expected to be about USD350 million to USD380 million, which Dominguez said is relatively small compared to about USD1 billion being traded in the country’s financial market on a daily basis.
POGOs are regulated by PAGCOR and required to pay income tax because they have operations in the domestic economy.
However, officials of some POGOs decry setup, saying they cater to clients that are based overseas.
A measure has been filed in the House of Representative aimed at requiring POGOs to pay 5 percent franchise tax and 25 percent withholding tax to POGO workers earning at least PHP600,000 annually. (PNA)