A new interagency task force established to crackdown on illegal online gambling activities in the Philippines will fast-track completion of a list of foreign nationals employed by Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs), the Department of Finance revealed on Monday.
According to its estimations, collecting income tax from these workers will add at least Php22 billion (US$420 million) to the nation’s coffers each year.
Compilation of a complete list of foreign workers under POGO follows recent comments from Finance Secretary Carlos G Dominguez III claiming the government was missing out on more than Php3 billion (US$57.5 million) per month in tax revenue, with an estimated 100,000 foreign POGO workers currently paying little to no tax.
Dominguez presided over a meeting between members of the new task force – comprising gaming regulator PAGCOR, the Philippine National Police, National Bureau of Investigation, Bureau of Immigration, Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Department of Justice – late last week, with the alliance to meet again on 29 March to complete its list.
An initial list of 64 of the 205 service providers currently authorized under POGO showed a total 33,000 employed foreign workers, equal to 515 per service provider, according to figures provided by Bureau of Internal Review Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa.
That equates to a total number of 103,000 foreign workers that should be paying income tax, Guballa said.