MANILA - Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said he would seek on Tuesday a legislative inquiry into billions that the government may be failing to collect from Philippine Offshore Gaming Operator (POGO) hubs.
There could be as many as 200,000 Chinese POGO workers in the Philippines, according to some studies, but only 16,500 are currently registered with the Bureau of Internal Revenue, said Gatchalian.
"Nasaan na iyung 170,000 POGO workers at kung ie-estimate iyung dapat na koleksyon ng gobyerno dito sa mga POGO workers na ito, tinatayang almost P40 billion ang dapat makolekta sa mga POGO workers?" he said.
(Where are the 170,000 other POGO workers and the estimated P40 billion that the government is supposed to collect from them?)
"Gusto rin nating makita kung nakikinabang ba tayo dito o hindi sa dagsa ng mga POGO workers," he added.
(We want to see whether or not we are benefiting from the influx of POGO workers.)
Lawmakers, he said, should also make sure that the Internet-based POGO business would not be used for money laundering and other crimes.
A Chinese national wearing handcuffs died from falling from a building in Las Piñas City after his employer confronted him about his debts last week, noted the senator.
Beijing earlier urged Manila to crack down on casinos and offshore gaming firms that illegally employ its nationals.
Chinese law bans its citizens from engaging in "any form of gambling" including online and those that are based overseas but cater to Chinese nationals, China's embassy in Manila said in a statement on Thursday.
The immigration bureau and several agencies last May signed an agreement aimed at tightening regulations on the issuance of special work permits to foreign nationals.