Malacañang on Thursday said that Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) would not be allowed to resume operations until they have settled their unpaid taxes.

“Hindi po tayo papayag na mag-operate ang mga POGOs na may mga pagkakautang,” he said in a Palace briefing.

Sen. Joel Villanueva said on Wednesday POGOs still received “VIP treatment” and many had resumed operations without paying taxes.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has admitted that only two POGOs had paid taxes, and said the department was probing those that reopened without settling their dues.

The Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corp. (Pagcor) suspended POGO operations in March due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Pagcor Chairwoman Andrea Domingo in May said POGOs would resume operations with only 30 percent of their normal workforce, if they paid taxes up to March 2020.

A “guarantee fee” of P300 million to P350 million would also be collected from POGOs, which would be allotted to the government’s pandemic fund.

Pagcor has collected over P18 billion from POGOS from 2016 to 2019. John Ezekiel J. Hirro