PRESIDENT Duterte has signed Republic Act 11590 or the Act Taxing Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO), a measure seen to shore up revenues of a government that saw its borrowings surge to cope with the pandemic.

Under the new law, 60 percent of the total revenue collected from the gaming tax imposed on offshore gaming licenses shall be allocated and used exclusively in the following manner: implementation of the Universal Health Care (60 percent); Health Facilities Enhancement Program (20 percent);  and Sustainable Development Goals (20 percent).

The principal author of the Fiscal Regime for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs) law on Thursday said the new law is expected to generate P15.73 billion in total public resources in its first full year and P144.54 billion over the next five years for the country’s economic recovery.

House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Joey Sarte Salceda made a statement after Duterte signed RA 11590 on Thursday.

According to Salceda, the fiscal regime will help stabilize the POGO industry, which “was wracked by the uncertainty due to the Supreme Court temporary restraining order on their tax treatment.”

Salceda added the law will help the POGO industry “recover, since we’ve lost some of them to Cambodia already due to our uncertain tax regime in the past.”

“But they will operate under stricter terms. That is the spirit of President Duterte’s pronouncement earlier this year, and that is also the spirit of my proposal which I proposed as early as October 2019, way before the pandemic,” Salceda added.

“As long as they pay the right taxes and comply with all our laws, they will be able to operate,” Salceda said.

Salceda said that after the SC TRO and the Covid-19 pandemic, the POGO industry shrank by as much as 50 percent.

Salceda said he expects the sector to begin recovering with the passage of  a clearer tax regime, “plus the property sector will begin recovering as well, as POGOs are a key part of office occupancy in Metro Manila.”
The law sets a 5% tax on gross gaming revenues (GGR) of offshore gaming licensees, commonly known as POGOs. It also requires alien employees to have a Tax Identification Number.

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