On efforts to resume operations of Philippine Offshore Gambling Operators (POGOs) initiated by administration officials and allies, Senator Kiko Pangilinan lamented the prioritization of the welfare of China in the guise of “boosting state funds” for the fight against COVID-19.
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) Chairman Andrea Domingo recently said she had written President Rodrigo Duterte and recommended the resumption of POGO operations.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez confirmed that the matter was also referred to the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
“The DOF said POGOs are not paying billions in taxes.”
“Uunahin pa ang negosyo at trabaho ng mga Chino sa POGO habang walang makain at walang hanapbuhay ang mga Piipino dahil sa lockdown? Boost state funds? Eh Department of Finance na nga ang nagsabi na hindi nagbabayad ng bilyong-bilyong pisong buwis ang mga ‘yan,” Pangilinan said.
“Magkano ba ang ambag nila? At kanino ba talaga napupunta ang ambag ng mga ito?” the veteran legislator asked.
The BIR revealed POGOs still owe the government P50 billion.
The Bureau of Internal Revenue at a Senate hearing in February revealed that the POGOs still owe the government some P50 billion in franchise, corporate, and other taxes.
Pagcor collects 2% of the total gross profits from POGOs but the Anti-Money Laundering Council reported a discrepancy in the net inflow of money from POGOs, citing that only P7 billion were counted of the P54 billion that flowed in and out of the country.
“Masyado naman atang malakas ang kapit nitong mga Chinese operators ng POGO sa matataas na opisyal ng govbyernong Duterte at atat na atat itong unahin pa ang mga dayuhang Chinese na magkatrabaho ulit kaysa sa ating mgag kababayan?” the seasoned lawmaker asked.
The senator pointed out that in Malacañang’s fourth report to Congress only 4,054,360 out of almost 18 million families or 22.58% have received the subsidies through the Social Amelioration Program. And of the 591,346 farmer and fisherfolk beneficiaries, only 52,043 or 8.80% were reached.
“Ang dami pang nag-aantay sa tulong ng gobyerno. Unahin niyo na makapagtrabaho ulit ang mga kababayan nating Pilipino at hindi ang mga Chinese. Sino ba ang amo ng Administrasyo na ito?” he asked.