The COVID-19 epidemic, according to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR), was mostly responsible for the billion in unpaid taxes, as most operators were unable to resume operations as a result of the lockdowns.
The P2.328 billion in unpaid accounts receivable reported by the Commission on Audit (COA) in its most recent report was explained by PAGCOR in an email message on Monday.
“Out of the P2.328 billion, the P815.902 million indicated in the report as under protest has already been resolved with finality,” the agency said.
The money, according to PAGCOR, was incurred as a result of its campaign against unlawful online gambling, which prompted it to impose assumed or anticipated billings for alleged unregistered websites.
“After thorough revalidation, no link between the suspected undeclared websites and concerned POGOs were established. In fact, the undeclared sites were actually websites of illegal operators stealing the live stream of our licenses,” it said.
The P815.902 million is reportedly being protested, while P1.512 billion is still owed, according to state auditors, who further observed that this had been a “chronic” problem for years despite collection procedures.
However, according to PAGCOR, the COVID-19 pandemic's effects account for the majority of the uncollected payments.
PAGCOR has P2.328-billion uncollected funds – COA
“It must be recalled that on March 21, 2020, all POGO gaming operations in the country were ordered shut down by the government in view of the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine,” it said.
“On June 2020, despite being allowed to resume operations, majority of our operators were still unable to resume operations due to existing lockdowns, restrictions in business operations, prohibition on entry of foreign workers, and other pandemic measures,” PAGCOR continued.
The agency added that it will still charge operators the minimum guaranteed fee if their monthly goal revenues were not met in April and May 2020.
“Nevertheless, despite such remedial measures, most POGOs were no longer able to reopen since the start of the pandemic, which consequently resulted in the accrual of uncollected bills,” it explained.
Following the removal of the pandemic limitations, PAGCOR chairman and chief executive officer Andrea Domingo stated in April that the company anticipates doubling its gross gaming revenues this year.
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