Press Release
January 23, 2023

Senate resumes hearing on POGOs; Gatchalian to dig deeper into implementation of laws

As the Senate Committee on Ways and Means resumes its hearing on the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), its chairman Senator Win Gatchalian vows to dig deeper into the implementation of Philippines laws, including taxes collected from POGOs, and the legal and regulatory compliance of third-party auditor consortium Global ComRCI which is tapped by the regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) to determine the proper Gross Gaming Revenues of licensed POGOs.

The purpose of a third-party auditor is to determine with certainty the gross gaming revenues earned by POGOs. The gross gaming revenue is the basis for the 2% regulatory fee collected by PAGCOR and the 5% tax collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), according to Gatchalian.

He had requested the BIR to monitor the tax payments of the third party auditor as well as the POGOs and their accredited service providers to determine whether they should continue to be allowed to operate in the country.

According to Gatchalian, Global ComRCI has a P6-billion worth consultancy contract with PAGCOR to conduct a third-party audit on POGO finances. The consultancy contract was signed in 2017.

"It is now difficult to have confidence in the integrity of the third-party auditor, POGOs, and accredited service providers if they continue to fail in demonstrating their credibility," Gatchalian said.

In the past hearings, the Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee said that POGOs may have underdeclared their tax payments as shown by discrepancies between gross gaming revenues they submitted to the BIR and PAGCOR. The government could have collected more taxes and fees had POGOs been more honest in their declaration of gross gaming revenue to the BIR, he added.

The senator revealed in his past hearings that there is an estimated tax leakage of P9.1 billion due to the discrepancy of gross gaming revenue as reported by the BIR, PAGCOR, and POGOs from January to August last year.

Gatchalian itutuloy ang pag-usisa sa pagpapatupad ng kaukulang batas sa POGO

Sa pagpapatuloy ng pagdinig ng Senate Committee on Ways and Means hinggil sa Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), sinabi ng chairman nito na si Senador Win Gatchalian na uusisain pa ang pagpapatupad ng mga batas sa bansa kabilang ang nararapat na nakokolektang buwis mula sa mga POGO at ang ligalidad ng third-party auditor consortium na Global ComRCI na kinuha ng Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) para matukoy ang tamang Gross Gaming Revenues ng mga lisensyadong POGO. PAGCOR ang regulator ng mga POGO.

Layon ng third-party auditor na tiyakin ang gross gaming revenues o kabuuang kita ng mga POGO. Ito ang basehan sa 2% na regulatory fee na kinokolekta ng PAGCOR at ang 5% na buwis na kinokolekta ng Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), ayon kay Gatchalian.

Hiniling ng senador sa BIR na i-monitor ang pagbabayad ng buwis ng third party auditor gayundin ng mga POGO at kanilang mga accredited service providers para masabi talaga kung karapat-dapat dapat silang magpatuloy sa kanilang operasyon.

Ayon kay Gatchalian, mayroong consultancy contract ang Global ComRCI at PAGCOR na nagkakahalaga ng P6 billion para magsagawa ng third-party audit sa mga finances ng POGO.

"Mahirap magtiwala sa integridad ng third-party auditor, mga POGO, at accredited service providers kung patuloy silang bigong magpakita ng kredibilidad sa kanilang operasyon," sabi ni Gatchalian.

Sa mga nakalipas na pagdinig, sinabi ng Chairman ng Senate Ways and Means Committee na maaaring kulang ang deklarasyon ng mga POGO sa ibinabayad nilang buwis tulad halimbawa ng magkaibang gross gaming revenue na kanilang isinumite sa BIR at PAGCOR.

Mas malaki sana ang buwis na nakolekta ng gobyerno kung naging mas tapat ang mga POGO sa kanilang deklarasyon ng gross gaming revenue sa BIR, dagdag niya.

Ibinunyag din ng senador sa kanyang mga nakaraang pagdinig na may tinatayang tax leakage na P9.1 bilyon dahil sa pagkakaiba ng gross gaming revenue na iniulat ng BIR, PAGCOR, at mga POGO mula Enero hanggang Agosto noong nakaraang taon.

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