MANILA, Philippines - Besides the one-time gain from the possible sale of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), the government will also benefit from the license fees that it will be getting from casino-operators.
In an interview with ANC, Pagcor President and Chief Operating Officer Jorge Sarmiento said the office will get to keep its regulatory functions as perceived in the privatization set-up.
As such, the government will still be able to earn even if the casino or gaming operations will go to private hands.
At present, part of Pagcor’s income goes straight to the national budget, host cities and various taxes. It also earmarks a portion to several agencies such as the Philippine Sports Commission and other social funds.
In 2008, the 41-casino chain reported a net income of P29.62 billion.
President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III already said he is seriously considering the proposal to privatize Pagcor after receiving a $10 billion offer from the group of San Miguel Corp. vice-chairman Ramon Ang.
This also comes on the heels of Aquino’s state of the nation address, where he mentioned better “public-private partnerships.”
Sarmiento explained “besides the windfall money, we will also charge license fees [which may amount] to 25% to 30% of the gross earnings of casinos.”
He said “Pagcor is such a jewel to be privatized.”
Sarmiento noted the company could still fetch a higher price if it is made more efficient. Pagcor earlier mentioned plans of expansion in order to be more attractive to investors.
“Before we sell, Pagcor should be attractive to private buyers. With that, we have to beautify, be efficient, address leakages and resolve the welfare of employees…,” he said.
He said Pagcor is also in the process of reviewing 200 or so contracts with the goal of ending graft and corruption.
A manpower audit is also underway, he said.
Sarmiento said the results of the review, handled by the legal department, would be released soon.