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BIZ BUZZ

Stalling the President’s Pogo tax bill

/ 05:03 AM July 26, 2021

The real estate and retail sectors are expected to be the biggest winners when the so-called Pogo Tax Bill is finally signed into law.

These sectors’ excitement was palpable when House Ways and Means Committee chair Rep. Joey Salceda announced over the weekend that the much-awaited tax measure covering Philippine Offshore Gaming Operators (Pogos) would soon be signed into law by President Duterte.

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There are, however, certain sectors reportedly unhappy with the bill’s current version. While the bill aims to level the playing field and settle long-standing debates on Pogo taxation, there are some who seem bent on stalling the passage of the priority tax measure for their personal gain.

Biz Buzz sources claimed a former lawmaker with close personal ties to the online gaming industry wanted his Congress buddies to insist on holding bicameral hearings ostensibly to “insert” provisions that would allegedly restore or confer certain tax advantages to special economic zones. The objective is for the former solon to regain his status as former Pogo kingpin.

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So far, these representatives are reportedly wary of granting their former colleague’s request as it will go against the President’s wish to immediately pass the tax measure that is estimated to raise P13 billion on its first year alone.While all indications point to the bill’s enactment immediately after the President’s sixth and last State of the Nation Address, it remains to be seen whether or not this former lawmaker-turned Pogo kingpin is influential enough to thwart Mr. Duterte’s priority legislative measure. Abangan!

—Daxim L. Lucas

Harsh breakup

Like a boyfriend or girlfriend who suddenly got dumped for no reason nor warning.

That was how the Tavaris International chief described how they suddenly lost the contract to distribute Stanley Black & Decker products in the Philippines after 10 “harmonious” years together.

If Jeff Ng is to be believed, his company’s contract was suddenly terminated after he requested a mere two-day delay in payments in July 2020 because a member of his accounting staff got sick with COVID-19.

“We were only asking for a delay in payment for two days as one of our accounting staff, unfortunately, caught the virus,” Ng said.

The multinational company pushed through with the termination, however, in October last year and had reappointed Herco Trading, the same company that had been dropped 10 years ago in favor of Ng’s Tavaris.

Ng claimed he just learned later that the contract had ended. When Ng asked the Stanley Black & Decker executives for an explanation, all he got was a curt reply: “It’s just like a boyfriend–girlfriend relationship where you just wake up one morning and I don’t feel like I like you anymore.”

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Reached for comment, Debora Raymond, Stanley Black & Decker vice president for public relations, said the company would rather not “comment on the details of our commercial contracts with vendors or clients” as per “policy.”

Whatever the reason is, valid or not, the contract for the Philippines is back to the previous distributor, perhaps a case of a distribution relationship hopefully becoming sweeter the second time around.

—Tina Arceo-Dumlao

Broadcasting play

Apart from long-time rivals GMA7 and beleaguered ABS-CBN Corp., there’s another publicly-listed company that aspires to build a bigger broadcasting footprint ahead of the upcoming presidential elections.Building on the recent partnership with Philippine Collective Media Corp. (PCMC), a “small network with big dreams,” Prime Media Holdings Inc. (PRIM) is fleshing out plans to grow its television business.PCMC, which started its operation in Tacloban in 2009 as a regional station, has an active national broadcast franchise to air locally-produced content.

“This opportunity to partner with Prime Media is something that we are looking forward to,” said PCMC president Sofonias Gabonada Jr.

The group seeks to harness regional networks to provide “quality” news and entertainment content and provide a good advertising platform for the elections.

PCMC, which has active radio stations, frequencies and permits as well as a national franchise granted last year, has proposed to set up two TV stations to add to the one operating in Tacloban, as part of the expansion roadmap.

PCMC plans to scale up its network of stations from 18 at present to 35 areas this year, prioritizing the “underserved areas” in the country. Big things are coming.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla INQ
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TAGS: Biz Buzz, Philippine offshore gaming operators (Pogos), Pogo Tax Bill, POGOs
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