No exodus of POGOs: Palace says only over 20 left PH
MANILA, Philippines — There is no exodus of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) amid the COVID-19 crisis, Malacañang said Thursday, noting that only over 20 of them stopped operations after failing to comply with regulatory requirements.
“Wala naman pong malakihang exodus. Ang nangyari po ay mga 20 plus lang out of 60 ang nag-comply doon sa requirement ng BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue),” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised Palace press briefing.
(There is no massive exodus. What happened was that only about 20 plus out of 60 complied with the BIR requirement.)
“Hindi naman po exodus ‘yan dahil malinaw naman po ang naging polisiya ng Department of Finance: pay up otherwise hindi kayo pupuwedeng mag-POGO operations dito,” he added.
(That is not an exodus because the policy of the Department of Finance is clear: Pay up otherwise you will not be able to do POGO operations here.)
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told senators on Wednesday that he got information from a building owner in Makati City that offshore gaming operators have started canceling their lease contracts for lack of business.
The BIR also told the Inquirer that “plenty” of POGO workers—mostly Chinese—were returning home as they were afraid of the high number of COVID-19 infections in the Philippines.
The latest Pagcor data showed that only 29 POGO had been given authority to resume operations after paying correct taxes and complying with health protocols—almost half of the 60 registered POGO at the start of 2020. [ac]