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Palace warns Pogos to comply with Duterte’s tax ultimatum
Published on: Monday, December 02, 2019
By: The Philippine Star

MANILA: Malacañang on Sunday warned Philippine offshore gaming operators to comply with President Rodrigo Duterte’s three-day ultimatum to settle their tax liabilities or face closure and criminal charges.

Duterte has given Pogos three days to pay their tax dues, saying those who fail to do so would be shot or turned into “pugo” or quails.

The President has also asked Pogos to register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and has warned them not to fool around with Filipinos.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said POGOs that have tax deficiencies should not be allowed to continue their operations.

“They cannot operate. They have to pay taxes,” Panelo said in a radio interview.

Asked whether violators would be sent to jail or deported, Panelo replied: “Of course. Any violation has corresponding penalties.”

Panelo could not elaborate on how the BIR would enforce the three-day ultimatum, saying he has to see the transcript of the president’s remarks. He said the crackdown on tax delinquent Pogos would not anger China, where most of the gaming operators and workers came from.

“China has said that we should comply with whatever is legal. There are no exceptions. If they need to pay taxes, they ought to pay taxes,” the Palace spokesman said.

Pogos employ about 130,000 Chinese nationals in the Philippines.

Earlier, China urged the Philippines to ban online gaming, saying it could trigger crimes like money laundering. Duterte has rejected the request, saying such ban would lead to job losses.

The government has collected P1.63 billion in withholding taxes from Pogos and service providers in the first eight months of the year. The amount is way higher than the P579 million collected last year and P175 million generated in 2017.

Last September, the BIR shuttered a gaming operator for failure to settle its tax deficiencies.



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