By Genalyn Kabiling
Offshore gaming companies may face closure and its officials’ jail terms if they fail to settle their tax obligations to the government, a Palace official warned Sunday.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) would not be allowed to operate if they don’t pay the proper taxes.
“If they cannot pay taxes, they cannot operate. They have to pay taxes,” he said in a radio interview.
Asked if tax delinquent POGO operators can face jail or deportation, Panelo said: “Of course. Any violation has corresponding penalties.”
Last Friday, President Duterte gave POGOs three days to settle their tax debts with the government or else risk adverse consequences. He threatened to turn POGOs into “pugo” or quails and shoot them if they avoid paying taxes. He insisted he would not allow these gaming companies to defraud the government.
In the radio interview, Panelo said he believed China would understand the government’s intensified tax collection efforts. Many online casinos reportedly employ Chinese workers.
“China has said that we should comply with whatever is legal. There are no exceptions. If they need to pay taxes, they have to pay taxes,” he said.
The government has stepped up the campaign against tax-delinquent POGOs, closing down several operations for failure to pay the correct taxes. Over a hundred letter-notices were issued to firms with tax liabilities amounting to P21.62 billion.