Only over 20 POGOs left in PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 24) — Dozens of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators have stopped operations after failing to comply with requirements, including paying taxes, Malacañang said Thursday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a media briefing disclosed that only around 20 of the 60 POGOs have complied with the requirements set by the Bureau of International Revenue.

"Maraming hindi nagcomply sa requirement na kinakailangan magbayad ng franchise tax ang mga POGOs," Roque said

[Translation: Many have not complied with the requirement that POGOs need to pay franchise tax.]

Hindi naman po exodus 'yan. Dahil malinaw naman po ang naging polisiya ng DOF (Department of Finance), pay up, otherwise, hindi kayo pwedeng mag-operations dito,” he added.

[Translation: That can't be considered an exodus. The DOF's policy is clear, pay up, otherwise, you cannot continue your operations here.]

Roque said another company went dark after the Chinese government accused it of funding demostrators.

READ: POGOs leaving PH must still pay unsettled taxes — Palace

Latest data from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation show that 29 POGOs have authority to resume operations as of September 8.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue earlier required POGOs to pay all of their unpaid taxes from April and earlier before they are allowed to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic, on top of practicing minimum health standards.

The online gambling business was bombarded with a number of allegations in the past few months. It faced lawmakers' and officials’ inquiries on tax liabilities— which reportedly amounted to over ₱50-billion— as well as other POGO-related crimes including the controversial money laundering scheme, illegal drug trade and sex trafficking.