POGO taxes eyed as fund source for COVID-19 response
MANILA, Philippines — Taxes collected from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) may be source of funds to to beef up the country’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic under the proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or “Bayanihan 2”, said Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.
Drilon pointed out that the proposed law would allow revenues from the industry to be allocated for COVID-19 response and recovery programs.
He added that the measure amended the computation of the franchise tax from POGOs.
This means that the franchise tax collected from POGOs will cover five percent of all bets made and not just the amount of winnings, Drilon said in an interview on Teleradyo Friday morning.
“Dati sa P100 taya, kung magkano lang ang panalo iyan lang ang babawasan ng tax. Ngayon ang buong taya o bet, five percent ang franchise tax,” he added.
Under the bill, the official exchange rate will be used in the conversion for the payment of the taxes, according to Drilon.
“Alam natin na dinadaya yung exchange rate kaya ang ginawa natin ay yung official exchange rate ang gagamitin at kapag sila ay nandaya ay pwede silang ipasara at kasuhan,” the senator said.
Dubbed as the “Bayanihan 2,” the proposed law lays out the country’s COVID-19 response and recovery plan and allocates funds to help struggling sectors cope with the impact of the pandemic.
The Bayanihan 2 bill has a total allocation of P165.5 billion but only P140 billion will be ready for use. The funds will be sourced from savings and unused appropriations of the government.
Meanwhile, P25.5 billion will serve as standby funds and will be released once more revenues become available.
The Senate already ratified Congress’ reconciled version of the measure. It only needs the ratification of the House of Representatives before it can be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte’s office for his signature.
Once enacted into law, the Bayanihan 2 will be effective until December 19, 2020.
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