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Two POGOs file for cancelation of licenses, 13 others close down

Two major Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs), including the Macau-based junket operator Suncity Group, have filed for a cancellation of their offshore gaming licenses in the Philippines.

According to Izzy Lee’s Monday report on “Stand For Truth,” the Suncity Group will transfer its POGOs to a different country.

Thirteen other POGO service providers have so far shut down.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) said out of the 60 licensed POGOs, only 13 have secured clearance from the Bureau of Internal Revenue and were given authorization to resume operations.

PAGCOR expects only 40 POGOs would remain in the country before the year ended.

In order to obtain tax clearance, POGOs are required to pay a 5-percent franchise tax aside from other fees.

Citing a 2018 legal opinion by the Office of the Solicitor General, POGOs insisted that they did not have to pay the franchise tax since they were not based in the Philippines.

“If we are to be very very technical about this, POGOs should be subject to payment of 5 percent franchise tax precisely because they operate here through PAGCOR,” legal expert Edward Chico said.

Meanwhile, PAGCOR was worried about the job losses that would affect more than 1,000 Filipino POGO employees.

“I-ensure lang natin dito na ‘yung manggagawa dito, ‘pag nagsara ‘yung POGO establishments ay maibigay po yung karampatang separation pay,” Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay said.

“Kung may hindi po nasunod sa mga patakaran ng paggawa, maaari namang mag-file ng complaint ang ating mga workers,” she added. — Julia Mari Ornedo/DVM, GMA News