Duterte signs law taxing POGOs

President Duterte has signed a law institutionalizing the state's taxation on Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations, or POGOs.

President Rodrigo Duterte (far right) and Senator Bong Go (standing). (Photo from PCOO Facebook)

Duterte signed Republic Act (RA) No. 11590, or an Act taxing Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations, on Wednesday, Sept, 22, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque bared in a virtual press briefing Thursday, Sept, 23.

"Bahagi ito sa ating mahigpit na pagre-regulate ng lahat ng klase ng gambling at pagbabawal ng iligal na sugal (This is part of our strict regulation on all types of gambling as well as our prohibition on illegal games of chance),"Roque said.

POGOs are online gambling companies that operate in the Philippines. However, they cater to gamblers from other countries.

It was only under the current Duterte administration that POGO operations became an issue of sorts with the legislature, resulting to the enactment of the new law.

Roque explained how gaming taxes collected from POGOs would be utilized by the government based on the provisions of RA No.11590.

(Screenshot from Facebook live)

"Sixty percent total revenue collected from gaming tax imposed on offshore gambling, shall be allocated as 60 percent for the implementation of our Universal Healthcare Act, yung ating sinulong pong batas (the law whose enactment I pursued); 20 percent shall be allocated to the health facilities enhancement program; and 20 percent for the attainment of sustainable development goals," he said.

It was last August 26 when President Duterte sought forgiveness from Filiponos for accepting the income generated by regulated gambling activities as government revenue. This is in the context of the country's protracted battle with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Patawara — patawarin na po ninyo ako (Please forgive me) for the contradiction. Ngayon po wala tayong pera. Kung saan man tayo makakuha ng pera, kukunin ko. Kung diyan sa gambling, so be it (Right now we have no money. Wherever we can get money, I’ll take it. If it’s from gambling, so be it),” he said.

"Kailangan ko ng pera para patakbuhin ang gobyerno kasi marami akong gagastusan (I need money to pay for a lot of expenses and keep the government running)," added Duterte, who previously said that he didn't like gambling.