The Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) industry should be given room to grow before it is slapped with huge taxes, according to Andrea Domingo, chairperson of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).
“I only pray that they (legislators) will listen. Fair and reasonable taxation is good.
Overtaxation will kill the legal and legitimate business operations,” Domingo said in a text message in reaction to a bill approved by the House committee on ways and means committee seeking to impose additional taxes on POGOs and its foreign workers.
“For illegal operations, it will not matter. Pagcor’s charter does give it jurisdiction over illegal gambling, so the task of fighting illegal gambling falls on law enforcement agencies,” Domingo added.
The panel chaired by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda approved House Bill No. 5267 imposing a 5 percent franchise tax on POGOs and 25 percent income tax on the salaries of foreign employees with a minimum threshold of P600,000 annually.
Salceda said the government collects some P6 billion to P8 billion a year from the 2 percent tax, and the additional taxes would allow the government to collect P20 billion from the franchise tax.
He said his bill aims to collect a total of P45 billion in additional revenues for the government, with Pagcor as the lead agency tasked to collect the taxes.
“I think the bill will be up for debate and discussion in plenary soon enough. The legal minds and the constitutionalists in Congress will surely debate on this matter. Then we will see how they will resolve these issues,” Domingo said.
Meanwhile, Ernesto Pernia, socioeconomic planning secretary, said yesterday POGOs will have to be taxed in accordance to Philippine tax laws, in response to a report which cited the Office of the Solicitor General as saying POGOs are not subject to Philippine tax.
“We will have to do that and Congress is also legislating on POGO taxes, franchise taxes,”
Pernia told reporters on the sidelines of a forum in Ortigas yesterday.
Pernia said he is supportive of the pending POGO tax bill.
“Yes, definitely, definitely. It’s about P45 billion revenue take,” he said.