Villanueva calls on PAGCOR, COA to reveal identities of 15 delinquent POGOs

Senator Joel Villanueva today said he sees no reason why the Commission of Audit (COA) or the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) should withhold the names of the 15 Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGOs) who owe the government some P1.365 billion in unpaid license fees.


Villanueva said the government should not allow these 15 POGOs to deprive PAGCOR of much-needed revenues, half of which goes to the national coffers and a significant amount is used to fund public programs.


“PAGCOR and COA should publicly name the 15 delinquent POGOs. They do not have the right to remain anonymous,” said Villanueva, the Senate labor committee chair who spearheaded the Upper Chamber’s series of inquiries into the proliferation of illegal foreign workers in offshore gaming firms in the country.


“For those who have swindled the government, all the more that their identities be known. For those who have closed shop and ran away with debts unpaid, then their names should be announced, not withheld,” he added.


According to PAGCOR, the licenses of eight of the 15 delinquent POGOs have already been canceled, one is under suspension and three are under review.


“PAGCOR and COA should publicly name the 15 delinquent POGOs. They do not have the right to remain anonymous.”

Villanueva said he does not understand why COA and PAGCOR did not name these delinquent POGOs, considering what happened was akin to a “hit and run.”


“If names of owners of real estate with unpaid taxes are routinely published in newspapers, then why can’t the same treatment be extended to foreign gambling operators whose arrears are far bigger?” the senator from Bulacan said.


“Hindi po barya ang utang nila pero bilyon. Yung topnotcher, P462 million ang atraso. Yung second place, P179.7 million. Yung pangatlo, P174 million. These are not penny-ante money, but amounts of plunder proportions,” he continued.


Villanueva even said that many government employees have been slapped with notice of disallowances “for failing to liquidate far smaller amounts.”


“PAGCOR should go after them even if they have retreated behind the Great Wall up north. Hindi dapat payagan ang ganitong hit and run,” he said.