Duterte certifies as urgent creation of OFW department, taxing POGOs

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has asked the legislative branch to speed up the approval of a taxing regime for Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) and a department dedicated to migrant Filipino workers.

Malacañang announced Duterte's decision to certify as urgent bills on these on Monday, May 31. Specifically, he certified the urgency of Senate Bills No 2232 and 2234, on the OFW department and POGO tax respectively. The House of Representatives has already passed its versions of the bills.

The Senate bill proposes the creation of a Department of Migrant Workers and Overseas Filipinos which would merge all existing government agencies handling various aspects of migrant workers' policies. Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the measure will "provide more efficient, whole-of-government approach to protect the rights and promote the welfare and interest of overseas Filipinos."

Meanwhile, Senate Bill No. 2234 imposes taxes on POGOs through amendments of the National Internal Revenue Code.

"We hope that through thgis measure we would not only generate the much needed revenues in the country but also place the industry under stricter government oversight," said Roque.

Under the bill, all entities issued offshore gaming licenses, whether local or foreign, will pay 5% of their gross gaming revenue as gaming tax.

Foreigners working for POGOs will be subject to a 25-percent withholding tax rate. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.