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Beginning this week, overstaying POGO employees will be deported.

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Overstaying employees of the now-defunct Philippine Overseas Gaming Operators (POGOs) will start their return journey this week, despite records showing the nation has lost billions in unreported tax revenue.

According to Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, five or six Chinese nationals are planned for initial deportation on Wednesday while the others are still undergoing verification.

A self-deportation will occur. During a press conference on Tuesday, Remulla stated that they would be responsible for paying. “Their visas have already been canceled by the BI (Bureau of Immigration).”

According to the DOJ, up to 40,000 employees from 175 POGOs with terminated licenses may reportedly need to be brought home.

Three thousand foreign nationals are the initial objective for deportation this month.

According to records provided by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian bemoaned that the government lost billions of dollars in revenue due to tax under-declaration even by lawful POGO companies.

“It is unfortunate that even legitimate POGOs are lax in paying the appropriate taxes. To lessen unpaid taxes owed to the government, which is the same reason a tax regime for POGOs was implemented. Regrettably, even licensed POGOs to continue to overlook appropriate tax payments, according to a statement from Gatchalian.

According to the chair of the Ways and Means Committee, looking into the economic repercussions of POGO in the nation, there was a tax leakage of PHP 1.9 billion between January and August of this year.

According to him, studies suggest that the country is not reaping the full benefits of POGO, and it is high time for the nation to consider building other long-term, high-yielding businesses.

By Republic Act 11590, or the law taxing POGOs, 60% of the total gaming tax revenues from offshore gaming licenses shall be distributed as follows: 40% for the Health Facilities Enhancement Program, 20% for the Universal Health Care Act, and 20% for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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