Malacañang backs BIR’s POGO targeting

The President’s office on Monday backed the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) to require Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) to register with the tax department before their licenses can be renewed.

On Monday, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo described the development as a “good measure”, as it also aims to monitor the number of Chinese workers in the online gaming industry.

Under BIR’s Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) 78-2018 last year, “foreign-based and Philippine-based operators, including those that have already been issued an offshore gaming license by PAGCOR, are required to register with the BIR on or before the commencement of business; or before payment of any tax due; or before or upon filing of any applicable tax return, statement or declaration”.

The Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development is set to hold a hearing on the influx of illegal foreign workers in the Philippines on Feb. 21.

The Philippines has expressed concern about the rising number of Chinese nationals thought to be working illegally in the country’s online sector. The influx of mainland money into Manila has been pushing up property prices in the capital.