Only hours after being sworn in as the country’s 16th President at a ceremony on Thursday, Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to stop the proliferation of online gambling in the Philippines and revoke existing licences.
A member of the PDP-Laban political party, Duterte is the Asian nation’s first president of Mindanaoan descent and cited the difficulties in taxing online gambling as one of the main reasons for his stance.
“There is no way of the government collecting taxes there online,” Duterte said during a televised cabinet meeting. “How do you collect taxes there? [It’s] not exactly the taxes but I do not want a proliferation of gambling activities all over the country.”
The oldest person ever to be elected the nation’s president, 71-year-old Duterte also declared that he wants to stop online gambling due to the adverse effects it can have on the population.
“Online gambling must stop,” said Duterte. “It’s out of control in the Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation. I do not want a proliferation of gambling activities all over the country.”
The provision of online gambling is currently legal across the Philippines with a few jurisdictions including the new Aurora Pacific Economic Zone And Freeport Authority (APECO) authorized to issue licences. Although Duterte stated that he intended to order the state-run Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation to begin rescinding licences the administration of previous president Benigno Aquino had issued “sometime soon”, he did not specify whether this meant those targeting solely foreign players.
Last month saw Duterte assert that health care would be one of the main priorities of his administration while proclaiming that all earnings received by the Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation regulator should go towards health and education programs.
“I will commit all earnings [from] the Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation, which runs to billions,” said Duterte.
To aid his efforts, Duterte has appointed the former head of the Philippines’ Bureau Of Immigration, Andrea Domingo, to lead the Philippine Amusement And Gaming Corporation with lawyer Alfredo Lim serving as its President and Chief Operating Officer.