On efforts to re-open Philippine Offshore Gambling Operators (POGOs) initiated by administration officials and allies, Senator Francis “KIko” Pangilinan laments the prioritization of the welfare of China in the guise of “boosting state funds” for the fight against Covid-19.
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) Chairman Andrea Domingo on April 21 told the media that she has written the President recommending the resumption of POGO operations. Finance secretary Carlos Dominguez confirmed that the matter was referred to the IATF or the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
“Uunahin pa ang negosyo at trabaho ng mga Chino sa POGO habang walang makain at walang hanapbuhay ang mga Piipino dahil sa lockdown? Boost state funds? Eh Department of Finance na nga ang nagsabi na hindi nagbabayad ng bilyong-bilyong pisong buwis ang mga ‘yan,” Pangilinan said.
“Magkano ba ang ambag nila? At kanino ba talaga napupunta ang ambag ng mga ito?” he asked
The Bureau of Internal Revenue at a Senate hearing in February revealed that the POGOs still owe the government 50 billion pesos in the form of franchise, corporate, and other taxes.
Pagcor collects 2% of the total gross profits from POGOs but the Anti-Money Laundering Council reported a discrepancy in the net inflow of money from POGOs, citing that only 7 billion pesos were counted of the 54 billion pesos that flowed in and out of the country.
“Masyado naman atang malakas ang kapit nitong mga Chinese operators ng POGO sa matataas na opisyal ng govbyernong Duterte at atat na atat itong unahin pa ang mga dayuhang Chinese na magkatrabaho ulit kaysa sa ating mgag kababayan?”
Pangilinan, pointed out that in Malacañan’s fourth report to Congress only 4,054,360 out of almost 18 million families or 22.58% have received the subsidies through the Social Amelioration Program. And of the 591,346 farmer and fisherfolk beneficiaries, only 52,043 or 8.80% were reached.
“Ang dami pang nag-aantay sa tulong ng gobyerno. Unahin niyo na makapagtrabaho ulit ang mga kababayan nating Pilipino at hindi ang mga Chinese. Sino ba ang amo ng Administrasyo na ito?” Pangilinan asked.