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

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JUN VALLECERA @tri­bunephl_jun

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.