Duterte to Pogos: Pay taxes or else…
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has given tax-delinquent Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos) three days to pay their taxes, warning them of adverse consequences if they do not meet his “grace period.”
“I’m giving you three days to pay your debts. If not, you Pogos, I will shoot you with air guns. Because from where I come from, pugo (quail) is a small bird that does not fly and only runs about,” the President said.
He ordered the tax-delinquent offshore gaming hubs to register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in the next three days, which will be considered a good grace period.
“I’m giving you at least three days, that’s good enough, fair enough, do you think it’s fair, three days?” Duterte added.
The President made the remarks as the government launched a crackdown against tax-delinquent Pogos in September with the BIR serving 130 letter notices to collect tax liabilities reaching P 21.62 billion.
So far, the BIR has collected P1.63 billion in withholding taxes from Pogo service providers from January to August this year.
There are 218 Pogo service providers with 108,914 foreign workers operating in the Philippines.
The BIR has closed down three Pogo service providers in September.
The Department of Finance said it collected P1.2 billion in corporate taxes before the three Pogos were allowed to resume operations.
On Friday night, the President warned that he would not allow Pogos, which mostly employ Chinese nationals and cater to Chinese online gamblers, to defraud the Philippine government.
“Seriously now, I am telling you. Do not dupe Filipinos. Because Filipinos are not fools. If you make a fool out of me, I will punch you. I will have you called here and punch you, as like the others. I’ve punched many people here, maybe you want to be next,” Duterte said.