Going for nation-building

Pagcor believes responsible gaming will offset the adverse effects of gambling. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

State firm Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) has always been synonymous with gambling. But for Andrea Domingo, chairman and CEO of Pagcor, there is more to the agency than gaming.

Pagcor, she said, is betting on nation-building.

“We remit 50 percent of our income to the National Treasury,” Domingo said. “These funds are used by the government to fund its social alleviation and nation-building projects that benefit the widest number of Filipinos. Pagcor is here to help the country to move forward.”

Indeed, the chairman said she expects the agency’s gross gaming revenues (GGR) to reach P192 billion this year, up P6 billion from the P186 billion GGR forecast or a 14 percent rise from the previous year’s earnings.

For 2019, Domingo is predicting Pagcor earnings to further rise by 13 percent to P217 billion, expecting a sustained GGR growth from the expansion of online gaming from bettors overseas.

“Our performance this year is better than expected for both the private integrated resorts and the Pagcor-owned casinos,” she added.

Aside from the Bureau of Treasury, the agency also remits 5 percent of its revenues to the Bureau of Internal Revenue representing franchise tax and other income taxes; P60 million annually to the Dangerous Drugs Board; 5 percent to the Philippine Sports Commission; 1 percent to the Board of Claims; P500 million to the Early Childhood Care and Development and the local communities which receive host cities’ share for hosting a Casino Filipino branch.

The P100 million monthly allocation by President Rodrigo Duterte to the Philippine General Hospital from his social fund is also sourced from Pagcor, she added.

“Many people associate Pagcor with gaming and casinos. But while operating and regulating games of chance are among our core mandates, our most important mission is often forgotten which is to help build a stronger nation by generating revenues for the government,” the Pagcor chief said.

She explained that Pagcor’s programs are hinged on the agency’s revenue-generating functions — which many people are not aware of.

“We intend to educate more Filipinos about Pagcor’s programs that were designed to uplift the lives of less privileged Filipinos. It’s high time that the public realize our noble goals because all our efforts to surpass past achievements are for the good of our country,” she said.

In addition to its mandated beneficiaries, Pagcor also implements self-initiated corporate social responsibility projects such as relief missions for victims of various calamities, donation of classrooms, computers, backpacks with school supplies and hygiene kits to public school students, among others.

Before the year ends, Domingo said Pagcor is required by Mr. Duterte to complete a plan to further develop the country’s integrated resort and casino (IRC) sector in a bid to counteract possible competition from emerging gaming destinations in Asia.

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