Sen. Pia Cayetano called a “major win” for the country Republic Act No. 11590 — the newly signed law taxing Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs).

She noted that Filipino taxpayers would not be burdened by this POGO law.

For years, she said many of these POGOS have been operating without paying the proper taxes. 

“By virtue of this law that I sponsored and defended, they will now be taxed,” said Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and principal sponsor of the POGO Tax Law.  

She explained that POGOS are offshore gaming operators which  means only foreigners abroad may gamble in POGOs. “So, the taxes do not come from Filipinos, or even foreigners residing in the country,” she said. 

“I’d rather tax the POGOs than see a proliferation of gambling in the country, which sadly seems to be the direction that our colleagues in the House are taking with the recent passage of a bill allowing online gambling,” she said.

Under  the new law, 60 percent of total revenues from the gaming tax imposed on offshore gaming companies will be earmarked by the government and allocated for the following purposes:   

•60% for the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act

•20% for the Health Facilities Enhancement Fund and

•20% for the attainment of the SDGs, provided that the specific SDG targets shall be determined by NEDA

“We made sure that the revenues from POGOs will be earmarked for much-needed health programs amid the pandemic and contribute to the attainment of our Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” added the Senator, who also chairs the Senate Committee on the SDGs, Innovation, and Futures Thinking.

Based on estimates of the Department of Finance (DOF), Cayetano said RA 11590 is projected to generate PHP22.9 billion in 2022 through the five percent gaming tax imposed on the gross gaming revenues of POGO licensees.

In addition, the government is expected to collect PHP9.2 billion in 2022 from the 25 percent final withholding tax imposed on foreign POGO employees. 

Combined, she said the total projected revenues from RA 11590 would amount to PHP32.1 billion in 2022.