Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) are free to leave the country if they do not pay taxes to the government, Malacañang said Monday.
“We need them because we need the revenues but unless they pay up, goodbye,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing.
Roque’s statement comes after the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) confirmed on Sunday that two POGO firms left the Philippines and more are seen to exit amid tax issues with the government.
PAGCOR chairperson and chief executive officer Andrea Domingo said the possible pullout of POGO firms may affect over 30,000 Filipino workers in the industry.
But Senate labor committee chairperson Joel Villanueva said the departure of POGOs won't be a loss to the Philippine economy.
"The failure of POGOs to adhere to our laws resulted in their exit. This is what happened, plain and simple," he added.
The Department of Finance earlier threatened to shut down POGOs with tax liabilities, with uncollected withholding income taxes then estimated at P21.62 billion.
The POGO industry was allowed to partially resume business in May, provided that they settle their unpaid taxes with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and follow protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. — BM, GMA News