Salceda boosts PAGCOR efforts to enforce POGO rules

June 11, 2024 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 94 views

HOUSE Ways and Means Chair Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay, 2nd district), whose powerful tax committee in Congress oversees the revenue efforts of the national government, commended the efforts of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) under President Marcos’s administration, for significantly improving law enforcement and revenue collection efforts on offshore gaming licensees (OGLs), also known as POGOs.

The House tax chair commended the gaming licensing agency in a statement today, saying that its leadership has “changed the landscape towards making OGLs a controlled but contributory sector of the economy.”

“Ever since the appointment of Chairman Al Tengco, and later on, by President and CEO Amy Eisma, PAGCOR has been modernizing its policies and practices. The licensing regulations on offshore gaming, now known as internet gaming licensees under PAGCOR’s revised rules, have significantly improved revenue collections, despite also reducing the number of total licensees.”

“In other words, we’re choosier about who we license, and we also collect more from each licensee,” Salceda said.

Data from Salceda’s office, obtained by the Congressman from PAGCOR, shows that the 2023 PAGCOR collections from OGLs improved to 5.1 billion from just 87 licensees, compared to 2.99 billion from 158 licensees the year before. This level is only exceeded by 2019 collections, the first full year of legalized OGL operations, when PAGCOR collected some 7.96 billion from 298 licensees.

“As far as a supposed ‘phase-out’ is concerned, that’s the kind of phase-out I fully support: You phase out the bad and mediocre licensees. You don’t phase the whole industry out. You enforce the law.”

Compared to a peak of as much as 200,000 Chinese workers directly or indirectly hired by POGOs, only about 8,500 are direct Chinese hires. Of about 100,000 total direct or indirect hires of IGLs, about 65,000 are now Filipinos. Of about 60,000 direct hires, 25,000 are Filipinos. Vietnamese hires, at about 11,000 now outnumber Chinese hires.

Salceda also highlighted the role PAGCOR played in apprehending allegedly illegal offshore gaming operations in Bamban, Tarlac.

“No one talks about it too much, but I think it deserves to be said: It was PAGCOR who made the first move to catch the illegal operations. I just wish PAGCOR would be more media savvy about their accomplishments, because they’re one of the best performers in the government corporate sector right now. And they deal with sensitive concerns that the public should know.”

“The PAGCOR leadership has been very media-shy. But I will sing their unsung but deserved praises anyway: PAGCOR has been enforcing rules on POGOs better, and they are turning the sector into an industry that creates more jobs for Filipinos and no longer relies exclusively on Chinese demand or labor,” Salceda said.