President Rodrigo Duterte personally entered the debate over delinquent Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) on Friday, warning them that unless these firms paid their taxes within three days, they would be “punched” and “shot.”
I’m giving you three days to pay your debts,” the president declared. “If not, you Pogos, I will shoot you with air guns. Because from where I come from, pugo (quail) is a small bird that does not fly and only runs about.”
He added, “Seriously now, I am telling you: do not dupe Filipinos, because Filipinos are not fools. If you make a fool out of me, I will punch you. I will have you called here and punch you, as like the others. I’ve punched many people here, maybe you want to be next.”
The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has recently made headlines in the Philippines by raiding large POGOs which it says did not properly register and pay business taxes.
There are thought to be several hundred POGOs employing well over 100,000 foreigners in the country, most of them Chinese and often illegally.
Colliers International Philippines reported last week that “POGOs now occupy about 10% of total leasable office space in Metro Manila or 1.14 million square meters.”