New Pagcor chief, Andrea Domingo, has announced that PhilWeb’s license will not be renewed. Shares in the company have plummeted to a 52-week low.
Philweb’s president, Dennis Valdes, had said at the weekend in an interview with The Star that closing the company down would have a huge economic and social cost, with up to 5,000 jobs standing to be lost. “In addition, SMEs that supply goods and services to each e-Games outlet would also suffer from the shutdown,” he said.
Valdes also warned that Pagcor would no longer receive a share of the eGames revenue, amounting to around PHP 6 million per day, or PHP2.1 billion ($1,537,000) annually. Nor will the government receive the PHP280 million that PhilWeb pays in taxes over the year.
Last week Duterte singled out Roberto Ongpin, a prominent businessman and former trade minister during the Marcos era, and marked him as an “oligarch”. Ongpin subsequently resigned with immediate effect following Duterte’s pronouncements and so did his daughter, Anna Bettina Ongpin, who resigned as PhilWeb’s vice chairman and director.
Valdes said that Ongpin resigned as “he felt his continued affiliation with PhilWeb would harm the company.” However, Valdes pointed out that Ongpin is not the only owner of the company, which is owned by some 1,500 local and foreign shareholders.
PhilWeb has lost PHP26.7 billion in market capitalization and is now worth only PHP8.3 billion. The company has written to Pagcor’s Domingo requesting for the situation to be clarified.
“PhilWeb is merely a software provider to Pagcor for its network of e-Games outlets,” PhilWeb president Dennis Valdes said. “We are not online gaming. Our software cannot be played from homes or offices.”
“We feel that President Duterte may have been misinformed,” Valdes said. “Thus, we are seeking the meeting with Domingo so that we may fully explain our side. As a publicly listed company, our records are fully open to public scrutiny and are available for a full investigation at any time.”
“I sincerely hope that the situation can be clarified,” he added.