Desperate Win

Senator Win Gatchalian is back in his pretentious “god mode” as he accused licensed Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators of tax under-declaration.

This follows the faux pas of Senate President Migz Zubiri who puts in the Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian that China will blacklist the Philippines as a tourist destination due to its hosting of POGO,
Huang said he was misquoted by the Senate chief which speaks a lot about the existence of an apparent campaign of a bloc in the Senate to shakedown a potential victim.

The government has halted fly-by-night POGOs while the Bureau of Immigration has started the deportation of an estimated 40,000 foreign workers from padlocked operators earlier found operating without a license.

The senators are now turning their gaze to legitimate firms claiming that these firms have been short-changing the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Senator Win Gatchalian claimed.

Gatchalian said, “it is lamentable that even licensed POGOs continue to disregard accurate payment of taxes.”

He cited his research and rattled out P1.9 billion as “tax leakage based on gross gaming revenue discrepancies reported by the BIR and PAGCOR from January to August 2022.”

It is not even a commendable exercise for a senator since he would have obtained more accurate figures from the agency he mentioned.

He did, however, achieve attracting the attention of the POGOs.

A group called The Association of Service Providers and POGOs said it will review the financial statements of its members submitted to the PAGCOR and the BIR to determine compliance with their license fees and tax obligations.

“Our group only represents 16 POGOs, less than half of those registered with PAGCOR. We’re coordinating with our member firms to check compliance as part of our self-policing initiatives,” ASPAP spokesman Paul Bongco said.

To say the least, it is the height of irresponsibility for a legislator to make sweeping statements using their “own research.”

Only a final assessment from the BIR can conclude that a business operator or even an individual is remiss on tax payments
It can be said that senators are even committing sabotage against a legitimate source of state income.

According to David Leechiu, property analyst and CEO of Leechiu Property Consultants, the economy will forego P952 million a day should the POGO industry shut down.

He said property industry calculations put each POGO agent’s spending at P4,000 a day.

Shutting down POGOs will not only result in missed tax revenues but also cost the economy billions of pesos every year in terms of office and residential rentals, and utility expenses of the 347,000 workers’ jobs on the line.

Similar to the squeeze play on the energy industry in his effort to frustrate the wholly legitimate sale of the Malampaya assets. Gatchalian is now after another rich cash cow.

Oh, brother, Filipinos elected some people in the Senate to stick up legitimate businesses in broad daylight.

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