No ''favoritism'' in allowing POGOs to partially reopen: Roque
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque assured there is no''favoritism'' in allowing the partial reopening of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGO) amidst the extension of the enhanced community quarantine.
"There is no favoritism there. On the contrary, the equal protection clause provides that all those similarly situated must be treated alike," he said in the Laging Handa virtual briefing on Saturday.
Roque explained that POGOs were only operate partially as it belongs to the BPO (business process outsourcing) industry.
"What the IATF has approved was the reopening of BPOs . It was approved a long time ago. The POGO is a kind of BPO," he said.
"Because it is a kind of BPO, POGO can also reopen... but the reopening of POGOs defends on the decision of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) commissioner and Pagcor ( Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.)," he added.
Roque said all revenues that will be earned from POGOs will be used to support the government's response against COVID-19.
"According to the guidelines, they should have tax clearance. These POGO's need to pay all the taxes that they need to pay to the regulatory body of Pagcor," he said.
"All of there employees will be subjected to COVID-19 testing so it also widens our capacity," he added.
Roque said the COVID-19 testing of POGO workers will be shouldered by their employers.
"The POGO operators are expected to pay 400 million ( pesos) for the period that they do not have their operation and it will increase to 600 million ( pesos) when they started their operation," he said.
Roque said, according to Pagcor chairman Andrea Domingo, POGOs will not be able to immediately resume their operation because there are a lot of requirements for their reopening.
"There are a lot of requirements, tax clearance, PAGCOR clearance and the mandatory COVID testing of employees," he said. Robina Asido/DMS