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Pagcor, POGOs boost funds to fight COVID-19

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By CHINO S. LEYCO

State-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) and offshore gaming companies will contribute funds to boost government programs against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.

In a statement, the government’s gaming regulator said that it will remit ₱12 billion to the Bureau of the Treasury on Tuesday, which will be used to cushion the economic impact of the COVID-19 in the country.

The amount, representing the agency’s 2019 cash dividends, is ₱5.67 billion higher than the ₱6.33 billion that Pagcor is required to remit, based on the its 2019 financial report.

Domingo also said that that Philippine offshore gaming operators (POGO) are donating ₱150 million for the government’s relief operations and health workers protection.

Of that amount, ₱90 million will be used to procure medical gears, including one million three-ply surgical face masks; 20,000 personal protective equipment; and another 20,000 face shields as well as other medical supplies
POGO will also send COVID-19 test kits, which is on top of the initial ₱90 million donation. The remaining balance of ₱60 million is for food supplies.

“We ordered from Puregold and Robinsons supermarkets for food supplies, and POGOs paid for it. We will deliver these items to the Office of the President for proper distribution,” Domingo said.

In 2019, Pagcor recorded ₱75.75 billion in gaming revenues.

Pursuant to Republic Act 7656, government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) like Pagcor are required to remit at least 50 percent of their annual net earnings as cash, stock or property dividends to the national government.

Andrea Domingo, Pagcor chairman and chief executive said that with the ₱12 billion remittance, the agency’s 2019 cash dividends will be 44.74 percent higher than the required 50 percent annual net earnings of the agency.

“As one of the government’s biggest revenue generators [after the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Bureau of Customs], Pagcor has always been trying to exceed its past achievements,” Domingo said.

“While this is not an easy feat, we will always do our best to respond to our mandate and call of duty. We support the President’s war against COVID-19,” she added.

From 2011 to 2018, Pagcor has already remitted ₱33.33 billion in cash dividends to the treasury, which solidified the state-run gaming agency’s standing in the GOCC Elite Circle or the Billionaires’ Club.

In a letter to Pagcor, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the ₱12 billion remittance will “make a substantial contribution to the efforts of the national government to cushion the impact of severe drop in government revenues, brought about by the slowdown in business activities due to measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19.”

Aside from the ₱12 billion cash dividends, Pagcor has earlier donated total of ₱2.5 billion to the national government to help curb the transmission COVID-19 in the country.

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