No Special treatment for POGOs Please

We laud government efforts led by the Department of Labor and Employment and Department of Finance to ensure that foreign workers rules are harmonized, and welcome the fact that like most of us, they will now be required to pay taxes. 

This, deapite the proliferation of these POGOs creating some controversy given that that hundreds of thousands of Mainland Chinese citizens have reportedly taken up residence in Manila, the country's capital, gobbling up condominium units and allegedly raking in billions of pesos as they operate offshore gaming facilities for their fellow citizens. 

We thus react to a recent Inquirer article, where the Philippine Amusement and Gamaing Corporation (PAGCOR) Chair Adrea Domingo was quoted as asking that the government not "overtax" Philippine offshore gaming operator (Pogo) firms and their foreign workers. She explained that the sector was  “here to stay” and generate more tax revenues for the country moving forward. 

“I’m sure that they [the DOF and the BIR] are all very intelligent, mature people that they will not overtax so that we lose whatever good it is… [Thanks to Pogos, there’s also] the real estate boom, and the boom of the services like the restaurants, the theaters, and entertainment. If you kill it [Pogos] over unreasonable steps, then you lose everything. So we have to maintain it while observing everything that is legal. We also make it a good place to invest in,” Domingo explained. ( ).

While it may be true that other ASEAN countries like Cambodia can offer more attractive terms for them to locate their operations there, the increase in offshore gambling may not exactly a job generating activity for Filipinos. It brings expatriates to the country to live and work. Thus, whatever bnefit the Philippines gains from them can only be realized through taxes we collect from them. 

With her statement, is Domingo suggesting special treatment for PGOGs and POGO workers? We hope not. Part of her oath of office is to uphold laws which include tax laws.

There should be no suggestion that givernment shold not tax them properly in the same way others are. No Special treatment please.