As the Senate Committee on Ways and Means resumes its hearing on the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs), its chairman Senator Win Gatchalian vows to dig deeper into the implementation of Philippines laws, including taxes collected from POGOs, and the legal and regulatory compliance of third-party auditor consortium Global ComRCI which is tapped by the regulator Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) to determine the proper Gross Gaming Revenues of licensed POGOs.
The purpose of a third-party auditor is to determine with certainty the gross gaming revenues earned by POGOs. The gross gaming revenue is the basis for the 2% regulatory fee collected by PAGCOR and the 5% tax collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), according to Gatchalian.
He had requested the BIR to monitor the tax payments of the third party auditor as well as the POGOs and their accredited service providers to determine whether they should continue to be allowed to operate in the country.
According to Gatchalian, Global ComRCI has a P6-billion worth consultancy contract with PAGCOR to conduct a third-party audit on POGO finances. The consultancy contract was signed in 2017.
“It is now difficult to have confidence in the integrity of the third-party auditor, POGOs, and accredited service providers if they continue to fail in demonstrating their credibility,” Gatchalian said.
In the past hearings, the Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee said that POGOs may have underdeclared their tax payments as shown by discrepancies between gross gaming revenues they submitted to the BIR and PAGCOR. The government could have collected more taxes and fees had POGOs been more honest in their declaration of gross gaming revenue to the BIR, he added.
The senator revealed in his past hearings that there is an estimated tax leakage of P9.1 billion due to the discrepancy of gross gaming revenue as reported by the BIR, PAGCOR, and POGOs from January to August last year.