POGOs need to settle taxes before resuming partial ops, Palace says
MANILA, Philippines— Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) need to settle its taxes before it could partially reopen in areas under enhanced and general community quarantine, Malacañang said Friday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said POGOs need to get authorization by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) before they can resume operations.
“Unang una, ang BIR po talaga ang magdedetermine kung sino ang pwede mag operate dahil kung meron pong pagkakautang by way of buwis sa gobyerno, hindi po pwede mag operate,” Roque said in an online briefing.
(First, BIR will determine which POGOs can operate because if they have taxes not yet settled, they cannot operate.)
“Pangalawa po kinakailangan wala rin pong utang sa Pagcor,” he added.
(Second, they shouldn’t have debt to Pagcor either.)
Roque earlier said POGOs fall under business process outsourcing (BPOs) which are allowed to partially operate in both GCQ and ECQ areas.
Pagcor chairman Andrea Domingo earlier said 30 percent of POGOs’ workforce is allowed to resume operations under “strict protocols.”
Apart from this, the employees should also undergo testing for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Roque said.
“At lahat po ng manggagawa kinakailangan covered po ng COVID-19 testing. Yung mga positive hindi po papapayagan pero as pre-requisite para makapasok yung mga tao, kinakailangan mag COVID-19 testing, PCR [polymerase chain reaction] or rapid test po,” he said.
(All workers need to be covered by COVID-19 testing. Those who will test positive won’t be allowed to work but as pre-requisite, they need to undergo COVID-19 testing, PCR, or rapid test.)
Roque noted all proceeds of POGOs will be allocated to the government’s efforts in addressing the COVID-19 health crisis.
“At ang lahat naman po ng proceeds na kikitain ng BPOs na galing sa Pogo, lahat po yan ilalaan natin 100 percent dito po sa mga gastusin related sa COVID-19,” he said.
(All proceeds from BPOs that came from Pogos will be 100 percent allocated to expenses of our response to COVID-19.)
Pogos were temporarily shuttered mid-March following the imposition of ECQ in the entire Luzon. Only essential establishments, like those related to food, medicine, and healthcare, were exempted under the strict quarantine measure.
Earlier, Roque said should the government allow POGOs to resume, it would only be to help finance the COVID-19 response.
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