The Philippines urges quick approval of new POGOs tax

If the bill is passed, POGOs will have to pay 5 per cent on gross gaming revenue.
If the bill is passed, POGOs will have to pay 5 per cent on gross gaming revenue.

The President of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte wants lawmakers to pass the new bill that sets income and gaming taxes on online casinos.

The Philippines.- President Rodrigo Duterte is pushing for quick approval of Senate Bill 2232 under which Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) must pay 5 per cent tax on their gross gaming revenue.

The bill would also make foreigners employed in online casinos and their service providers pay 25 per cent income tax

According to Bloomberg, presidential spokesman Harry Roque stated: “We hope that this measure would not only generate the much-needed revenues in the country but also place the industry under stricter government oversight.”

Senator Pia Cayetano, who sponsors the new bill, shared the key features of the proposed measure through Twitter.

Cayetano said POGOs has grown rapidly in the Philippines, generating additional revenues for the government in the past year. 

POGOs brought in US$149.4m in tax payments last year despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting departure of many firms.

However, considering the proliferation of POGOs in the country, Cayetano said their potential as a source of revenue was much bigger and that the government could have collected more than Php6.43bn (US$133.8m) in 2019 alone.

Last year, the Philippines’ lower chamber tried to impose a 5 per cent franchise tax on overall turnover for POGOs, but online gambling operators began leaving the country.

The tax changes were finally suspended in January following a petition to the Supreme Court from foreign gaming groups, but they were reintroduced in February.

According to PAGCOR’s website, the number of POGO licence holders that are currently operating is just 40, compared with 61 before the Covid crisis.

The Philippines economy could rebound in 2022

S&P Global Ratings believes the Philippines’s economy could rebound once the Covid-19 pandemic is contained.

S&P has maintained the Philippines’ “BBB+” rating, which means it has adequate capacity to meet its financial commitments. It said the Philippines BBB+ rating would remain unchanged for half a year and could last up to two years

According to Business World, the firm stated: “We affirmed the ratings because we believe the Philippines will continue to have good economic recovery prospects once the Covid-19 pandemic is contained”.

S&P also believes the government’s fiscal performance will strengthen and that GDP will grow 7.9 per cent in 2021.

Metro Manila under general community quarantine until June 15

President Rodrigo Duterte has placed Metro Manila under general community quarantine (GCQ) until June 15.

In May, the Philippines Department of Tourism (DOT) allowed 13 Manila Integrated Resorts to reopen and receive guests for a staycation.

With a total of 5,986 rooms between them, Metro Manila IRs may receive only staycation guests from within the National Capital Region. Guests must be aged between 18 and 65.

The Ministry of Health reported 6,684 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours and a total of 54,290 active cases.

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