Villanueva prods BIR: Secure P50B overdue POGO taxes for Rolly aid
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Joel Villanueva on Monday reminded the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to urgently collect the P50 billion unpaid taxes of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) firms in order to boost government funds for rescue and relief work after Typhoon Rolly pummelled many parts of the country.
Villanueva said BIR should ensure the collection of all pending taxes of POGOs before allowing these gambling companies to close.
“Bago pa po magkapandemya ay naniningil na tayo, at ilang beses na rin po natin kinalampag ang isyu ng mga POGO sa mga nakaraan na pagdinig natin. Hindi naman po loan o donation ang kinokoleta natin dito, kung hindi pera ng taumbayan ito sa porma ng buwis na hindi nila binayaran,” Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee, said in a statement.
(Even before the pandemic, we were already demanding payment and we have repeatedly brought up POGO issues in our past hearings. We are not collecting loans or donations here; this is the people’s money in the form of taxes, which POGOs did not pay.)
“Ngayon pong nakadapa tayo, hindi naman po siguro kalabisan na maningil tayo sa matagal na pagkakautang ng mga POGO para sa mga kababayan natin,” he added.
(Now that we are in this situation, it is not too much to demand such payment of back taxes by POGOs for our countrymen.)
In its 6:00 a.m. report Monday, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said it has standby available funds amounting to P254.35 million that can be utilized for response efforts in areas affected by Rolly.
It also said that at least 105,000 persons have been brought to evacuation centers in Bicol alone – the region that mostly bore Rolly’s wrath over the weekend. Additionally, around 39,000 individuals were taking shelter at evacuation centers in Calabarzon and Mimaropa and the Cordillera Administrative Region, according to DSWD.
Villanueva then pointed out that thousands of residents in the provinces of Catanduanes, Albay, Quezon, and Batangas were likewise displaced due to Rolly.
He said local government officials have sought assistance from the national government to augment their relief operations as existing calamity funds are almost depleted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Miggy Dumlao, Trainee
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