Of late, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the government had about P3 billion worth of monthly income tax collectibles from foreign nationals working in Philippine offshore gaming operations.
In a statement aimed at giving light to the role of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. in this issue, being the government agency that regulates gaming in the country including the POGO licensees and their accredited service providers, it released a statement:
“POGO operations is a big and multi-faceted industry. For it to develop, it entails employment and necessitates other industries such as real estate, service as in food and transportation, construction, telecommunication, to name a few.
“While gaming operations fall within the ambit of the gaming industry thereby subjecting the same to pertinent regulatory bodies such as PAGCOR, other components of operations fall under the jurisdiction of afore-cited sectors making each component subjected to the regulation of each concerned government agencies.
“Taxation of licensed operators is undertaken by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. In support to their thrust, we require applicants for offshore gaming licenses submission of their company registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission, in view of the latter’s requirement for a Tax Identification Number.
“Foreign workers, meanwhile, are regulated by both the Department of Labor and Employment and the Bureau of Immigration. For our part, PAGCOR upholds lawful employment. Employing undocumented foreign workers by licensed operations and their accredited service providers is a violation warranting imposition of demerits, fines, and other administrative penalties, without prejudice to suspension of operations and/or cancellation of license or accreditation.
“Since 2016, POGO operations have been contributing significantly to PAGCOR’s overall revenues—which eventually go to the government’s coffers and various mandated beneficiaries. In 2016, POGO operations generated P657 million followed by P3.924 billion in 2017 and P7.365 billion in 2018.
“POGO Licensees are required to uphold responsible gaming in the conduct of their operations and production of games.
“In sum, we opine that the developing offshore gaming industry should be regulated but not without the aid of appropriate government agencies.
“To this end, technical working group discussions and inter-agency communications are being observed among government agencies such as the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Department of Labor and Employment, Bureau of Immigration and other law enforcement agencies such as the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation.
“PAGCOR actively takes part in this inter-agency coordination by providing requested information necessary for the fulfillment of mandate of the concerned government agency.
“Finally, PAGCOR expresses its commitment to uphold the integrity of gaming in the country.
“By partaking in inter-agency efforts in regulating offshore gaming operations, PAGCOR has always supported the government’s policy of equitable and progressive taxation, lawful employment, and promotion of public welfare.”