By CHINO S. LEYCO
State-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) remitted additional funds to the Bureau of the Treasury to help boost the dwindling government coffers due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, Andrea Domingo, Pagcor chairman and chief executive, said the gaming regulator released ₱5 billion in cash dividends to the Treasury, bringing the agency’s total dividend contribution to ₱17 billion.
Domingo said that Pagcor’s latest remittance is mainly in support of the government’s fight against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The additional dividends remittance, which was recently requested by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, was taken from Pagcor’s 2019 net earnings and accumulated retained earnings in 2018. “There’s a need to infuse more funds to the government’s effort in battling the COVID-19 pandemic. With our latest cash dividends remittance, we hope to contribute more significantly to that cause,” Domingo said.
“We might have suffered huge revenue losses but we can’t afford to lose the fight against this global health crisis,” she added.
National Deputy Treasurer Sharon Almanza received last Friday a check representing Pagcor’s additional dividends contributions at the Treasury headquarters in Manila.
“This substantial amount is indeed a welcome augmentation of the government’s funds,” Almanza said.
Last March 23, PAGCOR had turned over P12 billion to state coffers.
With PAGCOR’s additional remittance, the gaming firm remains the third highest contributor of cash dividends for 2019 among the government-owned and controlled corporations, next to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp.
The release of additional cash dividends is pursuant to Republic Act 11469, otherwise known as Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, and the Republic Act 7656 which requires GOCCs to “share a substantial amount of their net earnings to the National Government” for revenue generation purposes.
Apart from the cash dividends, PAGCOR has initially released a total of P14.5 billion to the Socio-Civic Projects Fund of the Office of the President (OP) from March to April 2020.
Last March 24, PAGCOR turned over P6 billion to OP, in addition to the P2 billion and P500 million remittances that were released on March 11 and March 1, respectively.
PAGCOR, as well as its licensees also donated food packs, personal protective equipment and other medical essentials to frontliners, hospitals and communities in the National Capital Region and some parts of Luzon.
The charitable arms of casino licensees have likewise extended direct assistance for the government’s fight against the pandemic.