Villanueva urges DILG to crack down on tax-evading POGOs
Senator Joel Villanueva has urged the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to order local government units and police to crack down on Philippine offshore gaming operations (POGOs) that refuse to comply with the country’s tax laws.
Villanueva also backed the Department of Finance’s (DOF) order to shut down POGOs that that fail to pay the taxes of their foreign workers.
He said the DILG should ask LGUs to revoke the business permits of erring offshore gambling operations.
“The interior department should also lend a hand to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) by asking the police to fan out and shutter these firms, the way it closed down operations of the PCSO last month,” the senator added.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez had earlier ordered the BIR to clamp down on offshore gaming companies that fail or refuse to settle the tax liabilities of their workers despite repeated notices.
The tax liabilities amount to P21.6 million, the DOF said.
Villanueva said it is high time for the government to act with dispatch to compel POGOs to comply with the country’s laws.
“We do not owe anything to these errant POGOs who have the gall to refuse the correct payment of taxes of their workers. We expect nothing less than the immediate shut down of these firms,” he said.
He also pointed out that China has already appealed for an action against offshore gaming operations in the country, following reports that their nationals, who are mostly employed in POGOs, are being abused by their fellow Chinese. China prohibits any form of gambling.
“We have little benefit in this sector, and the inconvenience it brings us is even greater. We should really stop the operation of these POGOs in our country.” Villanueva said.
The Villanueva-led Senate committee on labor is set to conduct an inquiry on POGOs and their impact on Philippine economy and employment.