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Drilon: Bayanihan 2 to raise P17.5-B from POGOs

The Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 will raise P17.5 billion in additional revenue from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO), Senate Minority leader Franklin Drilon said Saturday.

“The Bayanihan 2 will more than double the tax collection from POGO - from P7 billion estimated collection in 2019 to approximately P17.5 billion this year because of the reforms we have introduced in the measure,” Drilon said in a statement.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday signed the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act which provides a COVID-19 relief package worth P165.5 billion.

According to the senator, the government is looking to tap into the offshore gaming industry to close budget gaps in the P165 billion stimulus fund as the Bayanihan 2 can only fund up to P140 billion while P25 billion will serve as standby authority.

“All revenues from POGO will be used to fund the various types of assistance laid out in the Bayanihan 2 for all sectors affected by the pandemic,” Drilon said.

The senator added that a 5 percent franchise tax may be imposed on the gross bets or turnovers or the pre-determined minimum monthly revenues from gaming operations.

“With his amendment, the government can now impose the 5 percent franchise tax on the gross bets or turnovers which will yield more revenues for the government,” he said.

Regulations on POGOs were also tightened to fix the loopholes in the current system, according to Drilon.

To prevent under-declaration of income, the tax shall be computed on the peso equivalent of the foreign currency used, based on the prevailing official exchange rate at the time of payment.

Drilon said violations of the provision will lead to fines and penalties under the National Internal Revenue Code of the Philippines. POGOs that fail to pay the taxes will also be shut down by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. — DVM, GMA News