Group twits solons’ POGO stand
We pay our obligations to the government and to say the PSP are not a loss is akin to saying the government does not need any revenue-generating sector
The Accredited Service Providers of PA G CO R( ASP AP) on Tuesday expressed disappointment at some legislators’ support to operation stoppage and exit of the Philippines offshore gaming operators (POGO) due to the imposition of more stringent tax rules on the industry.
ASPAP spokesman Margarita Gutierrez said the lawmakers should carefully consider the economic repercussions of the POGO exodus considering the crippling effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Any mass exit by so-called Philippine offshore gaming operators or POGO service providers (PSP) will do more harm for the economy, especially at this time when the government needs revenues to address the needs of the vulnerable sectors of society.
“If this continues, we will lose a lot more than what these lawmakers want the public to believe,” Gutierrez said. “The economy will further suffer along with the government’s COVID-19 response programs as we will lose a significant revenue-generator. The property sector will take a hit and job losses from the industry will compound the unemployment problem,” she said.
Some senators gloated over the looming POGO exit and consequent demise of PSP that provide jobs for thousands and billions of pesos in government coffers.
“That is what we cannot comprehend. At a time when we need to come together to get out of the devastation brought by the pandemic, some lawmakers are bent on driving our country and fellow Filipinos to further despair by driving away what is considered a source of “free money”
— a fully legitimate industry” Gutierrez lamented.
The ASPAP spokesman also rejected the senators’ claims the PSP have not paid their tax obligations, pointing out that their members dutifully pay the regulatory fees as well as the corporate and withholding tax of their workers.
“We pay our obligations to the government and to say the PSP are not a loss is akin to saying the government does not need any revenue-generating sector,” Gutierrez said. “The government is taking out foreign loans to raise revenues while some quarters are driving away a legitimate and regulated industry proven to generate billions of pesos in taxes. Aren’t we doomed with such a policy?”
“Although we laud the government’s proactive approach as seen in the foreign loans being applied for, let us not discount the other sources of funds that are currently available, such as but not limited to the fees from the PSP which they are more than willing to comply and pay the government,” she added.
Gutierrez explained the PSP contribute around P94.7 billion to the economy. It could reach as high as P104 billion this year.
PSP income steady grew through the years — from only P73.72 million in 2016, revenues from the sector increased significantly to P3.12 billion in 2017, P6.11 billion in 2018 and P5.73 billion in 2019.
At a time when we need to come together to get out of the devastation brought by the pandemic, some lawmakers are bent on driving our country and fellow Filipinos to further despair by driving away what is considered a source of free money — a fully legitimate industry.
In the first three months this year, PSP contributed P1.8 billion in regulatory fees alone. From 2016 to March 2020 revenue collection from PSP — including application, processing and regulatory fees — amounted to P20.83 billion.
These figures are forecast to increase dramatically due to the temporary shutdown in PSP operations.
Included in the requirements set by PAGCOR and the Bureau of Internal
Revenue, the payment of taxes and other unpaid obligations, if any, are prerequisites to the resumption of operations. This forms part of the agreement between government agencies and ASPAP in the crackdown against non-registered offshore gaming operators or NOGO.
Gutierrez said the PSP cascade benefits through the system such as additional employment in the real estate industry which has generated more or less P25 billion on leaseholds and rentals as POGO occupy one million square meters of office space.
PSP employ 31,556 Filipinos, excluding those in the ancillary industries as real estate, transportation and retail, Gutierrez said. “The employment of Filipinos in PSP will continue to rise as more and more Filipinos are able to learn and qualify for the jobs offered in the industry.”
“Also, over and above the mandatory fees, PSP donated P150 million worth of relief goods and medical supplies to augment government’s efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” Gutierrez added. “So, we hope that some of our lawmakers will rethink carefully about what they wish for the country,” the ASPAP spokesman concluded.