President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday (Sep. 22) signed into law the measure that will impose additional taxes on the Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO).
Under the Republic Act No. 11590, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said 60% of the total collected revenues will be allotted for the implementation of the Universal Healthcare Act, 20% will be allocated for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, while the remaining 20% will be allotted for the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
“Bahagi ito sa ating mahigpit na pagri-regulate ng lahat ng klase ng gambling at pagbabawal ng illegal na sugal,” he added.
The newly-signed law requires all POGO employees to acquire a tax identification number. Employed alien individuals are required to pay a final withholding tax of 25% on their gross income.
According to the law, “all offshore gaming licensees and service providers shall submit to the Bureau of Internal Revenue [BIR] the original copy of notarized contract of employment clearly stating therein the annual salary and other benefits and entitlements of the concerned alien.”
Sec. Roque explained that the collected revenue from the POGO tax will greatly help in improving the country’s healthcare system.
The POGO has initially been controversial due to reports of its illegal operation involving crimes in the Philippines.