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Duterte signs POGO tax law

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law providing a tax regime for the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO), Malacañang announced on Thursday.

Signed on Wednesday, Republic Act 11590 imposes a 5% gaming tax on services rendered by offshore gaming licensees and a 25% withholding tax on foreigners employed by offshore gaming licensees and service providers.

Sixty percent of the total revenue collected from the gaming tax will be used for the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Law.

Twenty percent will be allocated to the Health Facilities Enhancement Program (HFEP), and the remaining 20% will go to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which will be determined by the National Economic and Development Authority.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue is mandated to submit a report to Congress every three months regarding the assessment of third party auditors and collection performance data of all offshore gaming licensees.

The law will take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation. After this, the Secretary of Finance has 90 days to issue the implementing rules and regulations.

Senate ways and means committee chairperson Pia Cayetano earlier said the government could raise up to P28.7 billion in revenue this year due to the measure.

However, revenues from POGOs has declined this year as a number of players have relocated to other countries in Southeast Asia, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) Chairperson Andrea Domingo said on August 27.

Earlier, Domingo told a briefing called by the House of Representatives appropriations committee on the proposed 2022 national budget that only around half of the POGO players are still in the country.

She said PAGCOR collected only P1.6 billion from the POGO industry in the first half of 2021. —LBG, GMA News