By Genalyn Kabiling
The government is prepared to bid farewell to offshore gaming companies if they cannot pay the right taxes in the country.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque maintained that Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) must follow the country’s tax laws as well as health guidelines related to combating the coronavirus outbreak before they are allowed to resume operations.
“Malinaw ang position natin (Our position is clear). If they want to stay, they have to pay the right taxes. They have to follow yung rules and regulations, health guidelines set by the IATF (Inter Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases),” he said during a Palace press briefing.
Asked if the government will relax tax requirements of POGOs, Roque said: “Well we need them because we need the revenues. But unless they pay up , goodbye.”
Roque made the remarks after the reported imminent exodus of online casinos in the country.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) earlier confirmed that Suncity has ceased its offshore gaming operations in the country, adding it expects more companies to shut down.
China recently stepped up its crackdown on cross-border gambling, arresting thousands alleged involved in the illegal activity.
Earlier, the Philippine government allowed the partial operations of POGOs subject to certain conditions, after reclassifying the industry as part of the business process outsourcing sector. Under the government rules, POGOs must pay their tax dues and observe health protocols before resuming operations.
POGOs were previously categorized under amusement and gaming establishments that were prohibited since the lockdown was implemented across Luzon last March.
Majority of the companies however reportedly could not yet reopen due to tax requirements imposed by the government.