Pogos should pay taxes, obey rules to operate

Wenilyn Sabalo

AS LONG as the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogos) and its service providers in the country settle their both income and corporate taxes and obey the country’s laws, they are allowed to operate in the country.

So said Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar in an interview with SunStar Cebu on Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020.

Andanar reiterated Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III’s policy and campaign against erring Pogos and its service providers.

“I understand that they can no longer open a new Pogo office or no one’s given new licenses to operate Pogo now. The policy of Sec. Dominguez is as long as the Pogo pays his taxes, corporate and income taxes, then by all means operate,” he said.

He said there had been complaints in the real estate which he, himself, is trying to understand, including the increase of prices of office space or condominiums.

“My question is if you are an owner of a building and the price increases because of the demand, is it good or bad if you make money out of the rental? For those who are in the receiving end, it’s good. But if you ask the other business across, teka my people are transferring to Pogos. It depends on who you ask,” he added.

In November last year, Dominguez said there will be no letup in the ongoing crackdown against tax-evading Pogos and their providers as the government aims to secure a fresh revenue source by collecting unpaid income taxes from these errant companies that mostly employ foreign nationals.

He said a task force led by the Bureau of Internal Revenue has so far temporarily shuttered the operations of at least three tax-evading Pogos and collected an initial US$25 million (about P1.2 billion) from one of these online gaming companies.

Almost two months after, the Department of Finance said the government was able to collect a total of P6.42 billion in taxes from Pogos and their service providers in 2019, which was P4.04 billion or 169 percent more than the collection of P2.38 billion from these businesses in the previous year.