China POGO Related Crimes, Unregistered POGO, Tax Violations


Photo Source: https://www.philstar.com/nation/2018/12/20/1878600/nbi-arrests-14-chinese-alleged-illegal-online-gambling


Over 130,000 Chinese Pogo workers unregistered with BIR, says official - business.inquirer.net

*PNP to step up drive vs POGO-related crimes in the Philippines - philstar.com

*Philippine government loses P51B to POGO 'tax evasion' - gmanetwork.com

*8 of 11 licensed POGOs refuse to pay licensing fees: BIR - news.abscbn.com

*POGO workers' influx to PH 'directly' linked to rise in criminality - new.abs-cbn.com

*Philippine government loses P51B to POGO 'tax evasion'- gmanetwork.com


Over 130,000 Chinese Pogo workers unregistered with BIR, says official


The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is going after the income tax payments of over 130,000 unregistered Chinese working in the Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogo) sector.

Internal Revenue Deputy Commissioner Arnel Guballa told reporters last Monday the BIR had expanded its investigation to also include about 2,000 foreigners employed in the Clark and Subic economic zones.

“They are consultants, engineers, designers, IT [information technology workers]… Our estimates showed that there are around 2,000 [foreign workers in economic zones] but what we are really prioritizing are the Pogos,” Guballa said.

The BIR official said “majority” of the Pogo workers in the country were Chinese.


He said “all” of these Chinese workers in Pogos did not secure tax identification numbers (TIN) from BIR, and as such were not registered as taxpayers.

“We are looking for all of them. Although they are employed in online gaming, what we are checking is if they are paying their taxes,” Guballa said, as he noted that some Pogo firms actually had remittances to BIR.


“We will check if their remittances are correct, if [payments were] below the actual [income tax] rate or below the declared income. We are counterchecking the income that they receive,” he said.

Before this month ends, BIR will finalize the list of Pogo workers as it is currently in the process of validating data.

For those to be found not paying taxes, “we will file the corresponding necessary enforcement – if you are not registered, then we impose penalties on those unregistered.”

Guballa said many Pogos were already registering because they now know the government was “very much aware” of their activities.

But even after these Pogos finally register, Guballa said BIR “will stretch back as far as we will determine [how long they were operating so they] will pay for all the penalties of all those violations.”


Early this month, the Department of Finance (DOF) said the government wanted to collect about P32 billion in unpaid income taxes from foreigners who work in the Pogo industry.

It was based on a rough computation by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III on the assumption that up to 138,001 foreign workers earned an average of $1,500 per month and paid the 25-percent personal income tax.

Based on the report submitted to Dominguez by the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) and Bureau of Immigration (BI) last month, 54,241 Pogo workers had been issued alien employment permits (AEPs), besides 83,760 who have special working permits (SWPs).

For Dominguez, the reported salaries of foreign Pogo employees amounting only about P20,000 a month were “ridiculously low” for skilled workers.


Source: https://business.inquirer.net/268786/over-130000-chinese-pogo-workers-unregistered-with-bir-says-official?fbclid=IwAR2L9xeHs855ydkDE53SC_zlO6sBBKbh5ef5ECL7NwFtx84oJWYnCwONKv0


PNP to step up drive vs POGO-related crimes in the Philippines

The Philippine National Police (PNP) vowed yesterday to launch an intensified crackdown on criminal syndicates operating within Philippine offshore gaming operator (POGO) firms as it announced the rescue of two Chinese nationals just the other day in Pampanga.

Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac, PNP spokesman, said the Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG) and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) have been tasked to curb the rising number of kidnappings and other crimes committed within the POGO industry.

“We will intensify our operations,” Banac said in a phone interview, a day after Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian called on the PNP, Bureau of Immigration (BI) and National Bureau of Investigation to hunt down criminal syndicates operating in POGO companies.

He said that even before the senator made that appeal, the PNP has been operating against crime syndicates victimizing Chinese workers.

Banac cited how latest operation of the AKG in Clark, Pampanga last Monday resulted in the rescue of two Chinese men from their abductors.

Read more...https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2020/02/26/1996105/pnp-step-drive-vs-pogo-related-crimes

Philippine government loses P51B to POGO 'tax evasion'

Philippine Offshore Gaming Operation (POGO) operators' "skirting" of our tax laws  has cost the government some P51 billion in revenues, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said Sunday.

Based on his calculations, Gatchalian told Dobol B sa News TV that the Bureau of Internal Revenue has only collected P11 billion from POGOs, when the amount should have been P62 billion.

"Ang nangyayari ay pinapalusutan tayo nitong mga POGO sa ating bansa. Meron silang tinatawag na off-shore companies, so ibig sabihin dito sila nag-ooperate pero hindi sila nagbabayad ng taxes kasi ang kanilang sinasabi ay hindi naman sila Philippine-registered, sila ay off-shore-registered," he said.

"Ito ay consistent doon sa sinabi ng BIR sa hearing na hindi nila mapuwersang kolektahan itong mga off-shore na POGO dahil hindi sila nakarehistro dito," the senator added.

Out of the 60 POGO licenses issued by the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation, only 11 are registered in the Philippines while the rest are foreign-registered, Gatchalian pointed out.

Source: https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/money/companies/726989/philippine-government-loses-p51b-to-pogo-tax-evasion-gatchalian/story/

8 of 11 licensed POGOs refuse to pay licensing fees: BIR

Eight of the 11 Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) who currently have permits from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) have been refusing to pay licensing fees, a tax official said Thursday, as a Senate panel studied if internet gambling should still be allowed in the country.

Among the 11 current internet gambling licensees, only 3 POGO firms are paying the 5 percent Philippine franchise tax, said Arnel Guballa, deputy commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

"Their (POGOs) assertion is that, 'We are offshore, we are outside the Philippine jurisdiction,' but the contention of BIR is, 'Since you registered with PAGCOR, then you are under Philippine law,'" Guballa told senators.

It was the Office of the Solicitor General that said that "foreign-based operators are not liable to 5 percent (franchise tax)," said Dave Fermin Sevilla, who chairs PAGCOR's Anti-Money Laundering Supervision and Enforcement Department.

In 2019, Solicitor General Jose Calida said that POGOs cannot be taxed because offshore operations are considered outside the Philippines. Economic officials had refuted Calida's opinion, saying the Department of Finance has been pushing to tax the Chinese-run sector.

Source: https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/03/05/20/8-of-11-licensed-pogos-refuse-to-pay-licensing-fees-bir

Philippine government loses P51B to POGO 'tax evasion'


Philippine Offshore Gaming Operation (POGO) operators' "skirting" of our tax laws  has cost the government some P51 billion in revenues, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said Sunday.

Based on his calculations, Gatchalian told Dobol B sa News TV that the Bureau of Internal Revenue has only collected P11 billion from POGOs, when the amount should have been P62 billion.

"Ang nangyayari ay pinapalusutan tayo nitong mga POGO sa ating bansa. Meron silang tinatawag na off-shore companies, so ibig sabihin dito sila nag-ooperate pero hindi sila nagbabayad ng taxes kasi ang kanilang sinasabi ay hindi naman sila Philippine-registered, sila ay off-shore-registered," he said.

"Ito ay consistent doon sa sinabi ng BIR sa hearing na hindi nila mapuwersang kolektahan itong mga off-shore na POGO dahil hindi sila nakarehistro dito," the senator added.

Out of the 60 POGO licenses issued by the Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation, only 11 are registered in the Philippines while the rest are foreign-registered, Gatchalian pointed out.

Source: https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/money/companies/726989/philippine-government-loses-p51b-to-pogo-tax-evasion-gatchalian/story/

POGO workers' influx to PH 'directly' linked to rise in criminality - police


The rise in kidnapping and prostitution cases in the country is "directly" linked to the influx of Chinese workers to the Philippines, a high-ranking police official said Thursday, as a Senate panel looked into the connection between Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) and a spike in criminality in the country.

Some 199 trafficked women were rescued from Chinese-run prostitution dens last year, said Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, Philippine National Police (PNP) Deputy Chief of Operations.


Of the rescued women, 173 were Chinese, including one minor, Eleazar said, while 59 of the 60 suspects arrested for their involvement in sex trafficking were Chinese.

"We did not have these kinds of operations 3 years before," Eleazar told members of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

"The increase in crime is directly dependent [on] the number of Chinese nationals who arrived here," he told reporters in a separate interview.

Police also recorded 9 POGO-related kidnappings involving 16 Chinese victims and 38 Chinese suspects, he said.

If incidents involving physical casinos are considered, the number of kidnapping incidents will climb to 73 cases involving 80 victims abducted between 2017 and 2020, he said.


'CAUSE OF CONCERN'

Eleazar affirmed Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon's claim that the kidnapping syndicates have been "preying on Chinese businessmen engaged in online gambling."

"All of the victims are Chinese nationals. Perpetrators are mostly Chinese but in cahoots with some of the Filipinos here," Eleazar told reporters.

"It is a cause of concern for all of us... Sa pagdami nila (Chinese) dito, pati na rin 'yung ibang businessman nagke-cater na din sa ibang pangangailangan ng ibang Chinese nationals, not just the restaurant and other recreational concern, but pati na rin 'yung prostitution kasi nagdadala na din sila ng entertainers from abroad," he said.

(With the increase of the Chinese here, even other businessmen are catering to the needs of Chinese nationals, not just the restaurant and other recreational concern, but even prostitution, because they also bring entertainers here from abroad.)

Drilon castigated the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) for pushing to maintain POGOs in the country despite the social costs.

"Should POGOs remain in our midst given all these information we have? Why are we so in love with POGOs?" Drilon said.

"I am so disappointed that for P8 billion in fees, we're saying we should maintain them... Disgusting is a very mild term of describing your view of POGO operations," he told PAGCOR representatives in the hearing.


Source: https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/03/05/20/senate-hearing-on-pogos-police-count-215-victims-of-crimes-related-to-offshore-gaming


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