Press Release
September 25, 2019

Statement of Senator Joel Villanueva on the shutdown of POGO firm in Quezon City for nonpayment of taxes

The joint operation of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Quezon City Police is the kind of synergy that we need from government agencies in enforcing our laws. Their effort is commendable, but we hope to see more agencies such as the Department of Labor and Employment, the Bureau of Immigration, and even the National Bureau of Investigation to be involved in forthcoming operations.

The closure of a POGO firm early today should serve as a warning for similar firms who will continue to ignore our tax laws, not to mention our labor and immigration laws. We are glad that our government has shown firm determination to shutter erring firms that dodge the law.

We appeal to our immigration and labor authorities to check whether the 8,100 foreign workers hired by this firm, called Great Empire Gaming and Amusement Corp., have the necessary documents that prove their legitimate stay and employment here in the Philippines. Should our authorities determine that the workers employed there are illegal workers, they must be subjected to deportation immediately.

We call on the concerned government agencies to strengthen their coordination efforts to put an end to illegal online gambling, illegal foreign workers, and the entry of undesirable aliens in the country.

We have stated that the cost of POGO operations in the country outweigh the tax benefits we get from them. POGOs attract the criminal underworld; it can be an instrument for money laundering, a vehicle for illegal employment, and a trigger for a real estate bubble. We should not be deceived by the expectation of tax from them when what we've seen is a sector that tries to avoid and evade our tax system.

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